One of my greatest discoveries during my previous trip to Barcelona in October 2012 was the one Michelin star restaurant Hisop. Located on a quiet side street to the busy Avinguda Diagonal it is not the restaurant you just stumble upon. Neither does it seem to get much attention in traditional or social media, except for the fact that it holds one star in Guide Michelin.
Hisop is run by chef Oriol Ivern Bondia. The restaurant is quite small, seating around 30 guests. The interior design is rather minimalistic yet it feels very comfortable and not stiff at all thanks to table cloths and flower arrangements on the tables. When it comes to the food choice is between an à la carte menu or a nine course tasting for 59 euro. The tasting menu, which must be described as a real bargain, is highly recommended. Mark-ups on wine seem to be fair. I had a bottle of one of my favorite white wines from Spain Ossian. The wine, which retails for about 17 euro, cost 30 euro at Hisop.
Grilled octopus, kaffir lime and seawater soup
The dinner started with a seawater and kaffir lime soup with grilled octopus. The soup was made of mussels and the flavored with lime zests. A very good start, the kaffir lime giving a fresh contrast to the grilled octopus. Maybe there was a little bit too much kaffir lime. The soup tasted more of lime than of sea water (or mussels).
Cuttlefish, garlic and parsley
Very thin slices of cuttlefish with a garlic emulsion and a parsley sauce/emulsion. A quite simple dish yet wonderful flavor combinations. The best dish of the night.
Mackerel, tomato and basil in different textures
Mackerel with candied tomato and basil in different textures; as a crumble, a very thin jelly disc and a sauce made of mixed basil.
Asparagus with tuna and Jabugo ham
Raw tuna with white asparagus cooked two ways and a Jabugo ham mayonnaise. The flavor combinations worked quite fine but the dish was a bit unbalanced with too much mayonnaise which made it very fatty.
Fish of the day with morels and rocoto
I didn’t get the name of the fish but the waiter said that it was almost like a scorpion fish. The fish had a quite chewy texture. It was served with green asparagus and a a creamy sauce with morels, which didn’t really fit with the other components. There were also some rocoto on the plate, in what must have been the texturas pearls.
Suckling lamb with chanterelles and lavender
The suckling lamb had been cooked sous-vide and the seared quite hard. A little bit to hard for me. It was served with some chanterelles and a purée of something that I do not remember a the time of writing. This was a quite rich dish which would have benefitted of some acidity. It didn’t really have the elegance of a dish that you normally associate with suckling lamb.
A very delicate lavender sorbet was served to cleanse our palates before the desserts.
Pickled strawberries and beetroot
A very good dessert with the earthiness of the beetroot sorbet acted as a backbone to the sweetness och sourness of the pickled strawberries.
Blood orange, juniper berry and “tocinillo”
This dessert was much better than it looked. Tocinillo is a Spanish custard. Unfortunately I do not remember this dish in detail but it was a very good combination of the custard, blood orange sorbet and the juniper berries which added some character.
Grapefruit with passion fruit eucalyptus
Normally the tasting menu comes with one cheese serving and two desserts. Since my girlfriend is pregnant we were kindly offered to choose a dessert from the à la carte menu instead of the cheese. Like the previous course this dessert was also much better than it looked. I am sorry but I don’t remember the exact components but I can say that it was a very good end of the dinner.
This was a very good but not fantastic dinner. There were good flavor combinations but some dishes were a bit unbalanced due to the amount of fat and lack of acidity. The quality of the produce was fine but not remarkable. Hisop is worth its Michelin star, although I wouldn’t say that it is as good as the one Michelin starred restaurants in Stockholm. For 59 euro Hisop represents astonishingly good value. If you want to have solid good food and do not want to spend a lot of money Hisop is highly recommended.