Moonraker Morsels

A Barcelona food blog


Federal has undoubtedly been the hottest, new kid on the block since it opened in the sticky summer months of last year. If you wandered past Federal in north London you probably wouldn’t give it a second glance, but in Barcelona it’s something of a rarity, strikingly different from the other café offerings with it’s paired back, muted, airy style and offering that other Barcelona rarity, brunch. The weekend mornings throng with friends getting together, couples sharing breakfast and the morning papers, solo eaters with their heads also buried in the global updates of the day. It can be difficult to get a table on a Saturday or Sunday morning but once you’ve succeeded you can enjoy the light streaming in and in the warmer months enjoy your meal on the roof terrace or with your legs  slung onto the street when they peel back the ground level windows and doors.  My friend Vera, fellow Barcelona blogger and much more proficient photographer than myself, has captured the feeling of Federal here.

I try not to be a creature of habit, but where eggs are concerned, there’s only one thing for breakfast. And I love these eggs, baked in a Staub cast iron dish with slices of pancetta according to the menu, to me it’s good old back bacon, some crème fraîche and finely sliced spring onion.

Baked eggs at Federal, Barcelona

Baked eggs with bacon, crème fraîche and spring onion

The two slices of lightly toasted and buttered sourdough loaf are begging to be dunked into that runny egg and undeniably rich and calorific creamy mixture but the sharpness of the onion stops it just short of being too much.  My freshly squeezed orange juice, swimming with bits which I love, washed it all down. This is not a dish for those watching their waistlines but indulgence  is what weekend’s are for aren’t they? Unlike previous occasions (and there have been many), the bacon on this particular day was very salty and left me with a thirst all morning.

My companion started with the breakfast seeded muffin, but for her breakfast isn’t breakfast without something sweet so had ‘seconds’ of the back forest cupcake, and so resumed our usual cupcake ‘love them/hate them’ debate.

Black forest cup cake at Federal, Barcelona

Black forest cup cake

Federal shouldn’t just be a destination for breakfast or brunch, they have an evening menu of light meals and salads, check the opening times as I believe the kitchen closes for a period between the morning and evening services but your hunger gap can be filled and weary legs rested with the coffee, tea and cake selection throughout the day. Sadly, my one and only cake experience has been disappointing, a slice of carrot cake that beneath the icing could only be described as a ‘cakey-jelly’, I can’t even imagine how that was created.

Regardless of their success, their beautiful setting and my own enjoyment of their venture I hope these small flaws will be ironed out, along with the repeated comments I ‘ve heard about less than friendly welcomes at busy times. It’s especially easy for things to fall below par when you are riding high on a wave of popularity

Our farewell was nothing other than warm, two kisses goodbye from the owner and a handful of childhood sweet shop treats from the jars behind the cash register. Surprised at my immediate identification of all the confection, my first Saturday job at a ‘pick and mix’ market stall still etched on my memory, he had us leaving with a pocketful of butterscotch tablets, cinder toffee and jelly babies.

Federal, C/Parlament 39 (with Comte Borrell), Sant Antoní


5 comments on “Federal

  1. Diana Chapman
    February 10, 2011

    What a great description! I too am a lover of Federal 🙂

  2. Becca
    February 10, 2011

    I hate cupcakes!!!!! Federal is still on my list of places to try, just have to get round to it one day soon! have you tried picnic? its near the park, same idea.

    • butterytoast
      February 11, 2011

      I guess your cupcake hatred is the same as mine Becca (read reply to Iain’s comment).
      Let me know your thoughts on federal when you’ve been.

  3. Iain
    February 10, 2011

    What is it people have against cupcakes? I never even knew there was such strong and widespread antipathy towards them. They’re just different shaped cakes, no?

    • butterytoast
      February 11, 2011

      Iain, it’s not so much that I hate cupcakes themselves per se, after all they are just sponge cake with icing and they’re sometimes nice if there isn’t a mounting of topping, it’s the cult that has grown up around them that I can’t stand. Cupcakeries are opening up everwhere, I don’t llike the prissiness of them and it’s a passing fashionable fad, yet getting a variety of cakes is difficult. Especially in Britain where our baking history is immense, how about we ditch some of the cupcakes and someone starts a bakery selling bakewell tarts, jam tarts, swiss rolls, rock buns, etc……oh, they weren’t all on Sex and the City were they?

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This entry was posted on February 10, 2011 by in Breakfast / brunch, Cafes, Sant Antoni and tagged , , , , , , .
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