There’s a newish restaurant in Priorat worth taking notice of. Brots, a tiny restaurant with just 6 tables in a town of 300 boasts a slightly crazy chef with 11 Michelin stars on his resume and a love of his craft. Best of all, it’s affordable, with set 4 course menus coming in at only €29 per person + drinks.
Priorat offers a plethora of amazing dining options, but only a few days into my vacation with my dad, this restaurant seems poised to be the highlight of the trip.
We were doing a tasting at Cellers Joan Simo and mentioning our dining and wining plans, when Brots Restaurant in Poboleda was highly recommended. I did some research and discovered all the rave reviews, including a 5* rating on Trip Advisor, no easy feat in a world of amateur food critics.
Tip: If you visit the official restaurant website, the intro video hints at how crazy about food the chef just might be.
I’m still adjusting to dining late at night, so I was relieved we were able to land a last minute reservation for 8:30 PM as soon as they opened. Note: reservations are definitely required.
Pieter Truyts, the chef and owner, was outside with his young daughter as we approached the restaurant and we were welcomed warmly, given our choice of the 6 tables, and an explanation of the menus.
You can do a la carte or choose from two specialty menus served for the table. One was 3 courses in the Catalan style, inspired by “the roots of the vineyard” for only €27, the other, 4 courses inspired by Pieter for €29.
We chose the latter (and incidentally, every other table that came in while we were there did the same).
I’m bad at remembering menu specifics, and since nothing was written out, I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but here goes…
The meal started with a bang – the appetizers were served via a ceramic replica of the chef’s hand. Wha!? Next to House-smoked salmon, red wine sausages with curry crisps, and local olives served with a syringe of Vermouth – you eat the olive and then squirt the liquor. Crazy, but great flavor combo.
Next up was tongue and scallops served with cauliflower and carrots fermented for 4 months. I’ve only ever liked tongue twice in my life, and this was one of them. Sliced so thin the texture was gorgeous and the scallops were cooked to perfection though I would have preferred more crust. Sweet and tender, no rubbery feeling.
The third dish tested my limits. I keep trying octopus occasionally, but I just don’t like it. Never have. Mostly a texture issue, but also flavor. And then they serve me the bowl with the curling tentacle. I steeled myself and cut it into tiny pieces to avoid issues…I needn’t have worried.
The octopus was part of a warm salad and was delicious. I’d seen something being set on fire in the kitchen a few minutes before, and the result was this perfectly cooked octopus that tasted fresh from the grill and melted at first bite.
The main course was neck of lamb with a mushroom risotto and sweetbreads. Another test. I also continue to try sweetbreads and they’re just not for me. This one appeared waving like a little flag above the risotto as if to taunt me.
The lamb and mushroom risotto however. WOW. When the chef came over I complimented him on the octopus and risotto and he waxed quite passionately for a few minutes on the proper way to cook risotto. 🙂
Dessert was perfect – basil ice cream with passion fruit, pineapple, and Tarragon cream.
It ends with “the happy ending” homemade brownie bits and Belgian speculoos.
It’s a tribute to how great the food was that I’ve gone this long without mentioning the wine. The wine list is incredible – an extensive list from around the world, but with a particularly good, and affordable, selection of Priorat wines. We asked for recommendations and upon learning the chef’s wife is a winemaker, we went with one of hers. €40 for a bottle of En Números Vermells, a 100% old vine Cariñena of which only 450 bottles were made. Well worth trying.
Parking Tip: If, like me, you’re not comfortable driving around tiny villages with streets barely large enough to fit a car, park at the top of the hill off the main road and walk the one or two blocks downhill to the restaurant. It will be a stiff hike after the meal but but after all that food, you’ll probably want it.
I’ve been lucky enough to dine at great restaurants all over the world and this is by far one of my favorites. The foods are exciting, the ambiance and service is delightful, and it’s clear the chef loves what he’s doing. If you’re visiting Priorat, or even Barcelona, and love good food, this is worth the trip!