Barsa Taberna celebrates their 3rd year anniversary with the launch of their new summer menu, that features seasonal ingredients with a light and refreshing flare that is perfect for the warmer weather. The kitchen is headed by Chef Andres Salomon, who brings a more contemporary approach to Spanish food, alongside influences from our city of Toronto and his Chilean roots.
The perfect appetizer in opening up the palate to the rest of the courses would have to be the Scallop Ceviche. Ceviche is a fundamental dish that is deeply rooted in North Africa and was later brought into Spain. As for this dish, the texture of the scallop is so soft and light, which matches the citrus tones in the candied and grapefruit juice, as well as the cured and raw cucumber. It’s drizzled with olive oil and lemon, and topped with a mint. The chef’s addition of a Marcona almond really “fortified everything together”.
Another equally fresh course is the Green Bean Salad. Carefully plated in a wreath-like pattern, this beautiful salad has a humble array of both yellow and green beans, and is intensified with roasted black olives, marinated potatoes, tomato jam, and potato chips. Combined with a cured yolk element, the aioli, and parsley puree add a creamy consistency to this light dish. The restaurant recommends pairing this dish – also the chef’s favourite – with an Albarino from North Western Spain, a wine that is similar to Pinot Grigio, with a stone-fruit finish.
The Corn Soup, poured table-side, carries a unique blend of spices at the base of the bowl, and is integrated with corn bread (as a bread crumb variant), corn, dill, and pickled cherries. The acidity from the cherries resets the palate to prepare in anticipation for the next spoonful of soup.
I absolutely loved the Rainbow Trout entree. The fish was fork tender, and is served with beautifully charred roasted asparagus, a sherry vinegar caramel, and lemon migas. The citrus notes are amplified when paired with Finca La Emperatriz 2015 Viura Rioja.
Of course, a meal at Barsa Taberna wouldn’t be complete without paella. Brought out in a large cooking pan, the Rabbit Paella brings a sense of charm to the table. The rabbit itself has a mild, lean taste, and is boosted with wholesome spring peas, mint, and a kick of chilli. This is definitely a dish that calls for celebration.
The Chocolate and Strawberries is a play on their famous sangria. The strawberries are marinated in their tart sangria and sherry, and contrasted with an ever-so decadent chocolate and vanilla whipped cream. Even as someone who doesn’t fancy milk chocolate, I found this dessert sensational.
Barsa Taberna’s new menu focuses on light and invigorating flavours that counter the summer heat. Specific locally-sourced ingredients, such as the asparagus and strawberries, were chosen to be featured to shine during their in-season months. Although it is “not your grandmother’s spanish food” as said by Chef Andres Salomon himself, it is food that is meant to be shared, which always livens up the dinner table, complete with a patio – and of course their extraordinary sangrias.
Photos by Janey Tso