What’s sometimes worse than coming across somewhere that’s really miserable or finding a fantastic spot to eat, is finding somewhere that you really want to like but somehow just doesn’t quite come up to scratch.
For me one of the places is ‘Bemba’ tucked off the side of Parallel in Poble Sec.
I really want to like it, initially because I was lured by the promise of organic meat and the bar is a is a lovely space with exposed brick walls, beams and blues/jazz posters lining the wall and seemed to be bringing a better standard of ‘cheap eat’ to the barrio filled with many kebab takeaways.
And it isn’t bad, I just can’t seem to love it. I first went shortly after it opened a few months ago, I’ve tried to go again on several occasions for a Saturday lunch but the opening times displayed seemed to contradict the times it’s actually open, although it appears they are now only opening in the evenings and not during the day.
On my first visit I had the Salsa burger, a regular beef pattie garnished with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and mayonnaise. I was slightly disappointed that it was accompanied by bravas as opposed to regular fries and but on the first visit they were delicious with a crispy outside and a soft centre. I decided to reserve judgement until another visit and on the next occasion I chose the Rumba burger, on the insistence of the bartender. This comes with a fried egg, fried onions and bacon, which in hindsight was obviously going to be a greasy option. This time the burger was over seasoned and accompanied by the bacon was very salty, plus the onions and egg just added far too much oil for my taste which the large piece of lettuce it was served with was just not enough to cut through. The bravas also tasted predominantly of sunflower oil which had leeched into the potatoes.
What Bemba does offer is good value, the bill for the burger, bravas and a coke came in at under 7 euros and whilst the burgers are not organic the other meat dishes on their menu are which gets a big thumbs up from me, although I do question why this is not the case for the burgers also, why not just go the whole way and offer it on all meat items?
It appears to me that Bemba is a work in progress, it’s not been open for very long and on both occasions I’ve been in (aroun 11pm on Friday evenings) it’s been empty yet at other times there seems to be a crowd in listening to open-mic sessions held there. The staff are eager to please and on both occasions have enquired if I enjoyed my meal, I just don’t have the heart to give them an honest answer to that yet.
Blasco de Garay, 8, Poble Sec