The sun-licked terrace of Silenus was the perfect location for a menu del día, a few hours with a newspaper and the phone firmly switched off during a much needed week off from the office job.
It’s a commonly held truth that a few more euros spent on a lunchtime set menu will undoubtedly elevate your eating experience disproportionately. This truth applied here. I started with a Russian salad of crisp, market fresh vegetables (Silenus has no excuse being a stone’s throw from the Boquería) and a green salad enlivened with a splash of some of the wonderful Ximenex-Spinola sherry vinegar and olive oil from El Mas de Mercader, also sourced from the nearby market.
The main course celebrated the best of the season with a juicy, herbed chicken burger nestled on creamy, softened summer courgettes topped with wholegrain mustard sauce. A set menu that wasn’t heavy on the carbs or overwhelming portions was a pleasure as I often struggle with the 3 courses these menus bring and feel fit to burst for the rest of the day.
Dessert had me intrigued, flan with raisins, but with an aniseed caramel, could that really work? Suffice to say it married my love of all things raisin with the local anís del mono spirit and lifted what can often be a pretty bland dessert.
Silenus manages that difficult task of taking traditional Catalan and Iberian dishes and adding interesting, contemporary twists. There’s a notable Italian influence too on the regular menu that spans dishes such as spaghettini with sardines, oregano and capers; rabbit, mushroom and Catalan sausage rice or banana salad with avocado and fresh cheese.
If you’re of the coffee and cake persuasion then the impressive looking (but from my side untasted) ‘meringue and lemon big cake’ will probably float your boat.
The staff were accommodating and in no rush to move me on as my newspaper reading led into a second glass of wine and the warm breeze and next table Aussie visitor chat about cheap Barcelona housing prices (not if you live here) wafted around my ears.
If only every day could include a long leisurely lunch and no screen staring. But then we wouldn’t appreciate it so much would we?
Silenus, C/ dels Angels 8, Raval
Menu del día 14€. Accepts Ticket Restaurant