A Barcelona food blog
If you like your food, the thought of what would be your last meal if you were a ‘dead man walking’ can be a tricky one. Not that many of us ponder this, nor find ourselves facing the horrors of death row for that matter, but it’s a question to throw into the arena over a couple of beers in a bar with food loving friends.
For me there are few meals that would beat a bowl of steaming hot mussels, french fries and beer to the place of my farewell supper. Maybe it’s the fond memories I have of a time in my cruise ship working days a decade ago when a good friend and I managed to meet in La Rochelle. Our respective vessels were docked there on the same day and we caught up and shared that feast,washed down with plentiful glasses of frothy French beer.
So when I heard about La Muscle Belgian style mussel bar in Barcelona I had to go and find out if this would plug what I had always thought was a huge gap in the Barcelona eating out market.
Now it’s name might sound more like it should be a bar or venue in Gaixample but here it’s all about the mussels rather than the muscles. Sorry boys. The menu, which borders on the slightly naff with its photos of the food (although you begin to learn that photos on menus doesn’t always mean bad food here), is pretty extensive and along with the large pots of mussels with a variety of sauce/steaming choices, there’s also a wide selection of tapas, large salads and cocas (pizza style bases with toppings).
Being a purist in the mussel department we went for the ‘A la sidra asturiana’, steamed in sharp cider from the Asturias region of Northern Spain. However, the choice ranges from the simple (steamed in cava or with lemon and pepper) to the way out there (bellota ham & bechamel or curry sauce).
A bowl of mussels, along with their accompanying fries and the pescaditos fritos fried fish we also ordered were plenty for two, especially if we had taken up their offer of bread. Bread comes with everything here. I saw someone eating a mountain of paella recently in a neighbourhood bar in the town of Puigcerdà with nearly half a baguette on the side. No wonder a post-lunch afternoon lie down is needed.
The pescaditos were straight from the fryer, hot, lightly battered and plump with flesh. The mussels were abundant and bulging although slightly lacking in cidery kick, but at least sauce wasn’t masking poor quality.
As we washed down the pleasantly salty french fries with the tap beer, they were a cause of debate. Me: skin partly on, fantastic. A layer of earthy flavour you don’t often get and from memory the first time I’ve encountered that in this city. Boyfriend: skin on, bad. Just not the real deal. I’ll leave you to make your mind up which side of the fence you sit on here, but he was wrong. All mussel pots come with fries and are excellent value for around 9€.
La Muscle might not be for cruising or seeing out your final hours on this mortal coil, but it was a great spot for sheltering from the onset of the winter chill and reminiscing of a distant day in western France.
La Muscle, C/Mallorca 260 (corner with C/Bruc), Tel: 93 458 9844
Open every day including holidays.