“Churro, mediamanga, mangotero. ¡Adivina que tengo en el puchero!” From the refrain of this traditional children’s game, the foundations have been constructed of the second house of this innkeeping family from the Valley of Arán, who have settled in the bustling neighborhood of Eixample, in Barcelona.
Mediamanga — a new gastronomical concept with a populist touch, but based in traditional food. That’s how it was defined by Iván Castro, one of the proprietors of this small culinary temple. Its style is something different from its sister restaurant Mont Bar, which predominantly features quality products and cuisine with a southern Spanish flair from the hand of Javier Méndez, the renowned Andalusian executive chef with an impressive track record in the best Spanish kitchens, including Aponiente or Enoteca; and Manuel Martín, the chef on board.
At Mediamanga, they care about their ingredients, they take care of you, and they work with respect. It’s something that’s reflected in every one of their dishes. A delicate job done in a modern and youthful space with a kitchen open to the public, dedicated to interacting with its clientele in a neighborhood that’s constantly in motion.
They rely on an extensive menu of dishes and meals, and on an extensive selection of domestic and international wines with which to complete your evening. We leave our night in their hands, and we go deep into a little tour of their intimate kitchen through a small tasting menu.
This culinary pilgrimage begins with the flavors of the sea. A natural oyster served atop a pureed oyster water, a touch of seaweed and frozen lime juice. The smell of the sea in every single bite. This is followed by a light and flavorful salad — a base of tomatoes macerated in anchovy, mackerel, and chive. Meanwhile, we devoured a puchero-stew croquette with mint while we waited for our next dish. A homemade creamy Andalusian tomato soup served with a tartar sauce of mango and tomato, and completed with some small fried fish. A touch of crispiness made for the reinvention of this traditional plate.
To continue with this culinary celebration, Javier invites us to observe up close the preparation of his trademark white garlic, a subtle plate accompanied by a tartar of horse mackerel and a julienne of cherries and almonds. As if that wasn’t enough, we finish with two main courses. A rice with red prawns; and some sea cucumbers on a pan with two fried eggs, a tendon stew, carraway, and chilis.
And to sweeten our evening, we tried the Chocolate! — a name that leaves little to the imagination, but even so, surprised us with its intense flavor and the different textures expressed in a brilliant presentation that made me feel bad to take it apart. A white chocolate ice cream, chocolate with milk, chocolate mousse, wafer of dark chocolate, chocolate biscuit and dried chocolate with sliced Macadamia nuts. A marvellous authentic experience that we would repeat forever.
Having barely been open for five months, Mediamanga has achieved a standing as one of the most trendy places in Barcelona’s Eixample district. A new culinary location existing within the traditional concept of a bar but with careful preparations; where good food is predominant. Without a doubt, this restaurant is a younger brother to be proud of.
Hours: Every day from 1pm to 4pm and from 7:30pm to 11:30pm
Average price: 35€
Text: Alejandro Moneva
Photos: Anel González