Fismuler

Short version:

Fismuler is a very competent modern Spanish restaurant with a high degree of creativity in the kitchen. That means some dishes absolutely hit their mark, while others may disappoint.

The hits, in my opinion, far outweigh the misses. Fismuler is not just one of my favorite El Born restaurants, but one of Barcelona’s best. Definitely worth a visit.

Long version:

Being located in a newly-built three-star hotel in El Born hardly inspires confidence, but Fismuler delivers far beyond expectations.

Firstly, the space is much better than you expect, and unusual in that it isn’t limited by being in an old building.

There’s a wall of glass with a bench along the front, which I’d say was the pick if it weren’t for the fairly uninspiring square in front. Likewise the street side terrace. Inside, benches line the walls and restaurant tables fill the space to the rear where there’s more natural light. And there are low and high shared tables closer to the entrance. 

I quite like the high tables.

Unusually, the reception and drinks service area is an island bench in the middle of the room, adding to the casual feel.

The menu – in the Spanish style – doesn’t inform much, beyond the ingredients in each dish.

On my first visit, I chose a tomato salad, Iberic pork cheek brioche with truffle, and chick peas with veal and lobster from the starters list. Along with an individual serve of chocolate and hazelnut cake, that was entirely enough food for two diners.

It’s what is on the plate that counts

I expected the tomatoes to be something special, and wasn’t disappointed. A large plate of different varieties of tomato, a little sauce with oil (couldn’t identify the flavor) and some chervil. For those of us used to standard mass-produced tomato cultivars – bred for colour and transportability, rather than flavor – a dish like this is a revelation. Quite a lot for two people though.

Next up was the pork cheek brioche, and it was the highlight for us. There’s a comfort-food element here – this dish can be eaten like a sandwich – but the flavours and textures are sublime.

And finally for our savoury dishes came the chick peas. This one was a bit more challenging – the three prawn-sized lobster tails were served raw, and the veal appeared to be gelatinous fat, forming a sticky, fatty sauce on the peas. To be fair, the freshness of the lobster tail cuts through the fat, though there weren’t enough of them for the amount of chick peas. Overall, a bit one-dimensional compared to the other dishes.

Spying on our neighbours, there were plenty more options on the menu that we’d try (and we have done so), but also plenty that we wouldn’t order as well. 

I’m coming back

So the question is, is it worth it? Happily, I reckon it is. If it were a stuffy, formal restaurant I’d be less enthused. But for the prices, I’m pretty happy. (Our ‘starters’ which were all much bigger than we expected were all in the €15-20 range). To have one that was a miss, even if it was a near miss, wasn’t a bad outcome. And the four different wines we tried by the glass at €3-4 were all exceptional. 

The point is that little on the menu is standard, so you’re going to find yourself outside your comfort zone. Sometimes that will work for you, sometimes not.

Me? I like living a little dangerously.

I was back again within the month for the paper-thin veal scaloppine with egg and mushrooms (which, to be honest, was another one that fell a bit flat), a superb ‘mellow rice of cockles, Chinese chard’ and a lovely semi-cured sea bream. 

Carrer del Rec Comtal, 17

Tel: 93 514 00 50

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The stunning headlight skylight at the Palau de la Música Catalana is a highlight

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