Once again, Facebook knew exactly what I wanted! We were looking for a tapas place, in Alicante, on our last day in Spain, when Marco reminded me about our happy experience with Facebook recommending a restaurant in Lisbon. So, after meandering the streets of Old Town Alicante, I stopped and went on Facebook. And, to my delight, the wonderful phrase popped up saying “there are three highly rated restaurants near you that you might like”.
The nearest one was Bandarra Bar. Our waiter spoke limited English so it was challenging to understand his response when he tried to tell us what bandarra means. I think it is a word from catalan or one of the local dialects, and, he said it meant “thug”. We spoke a little more and he made sure that this did not mean a violent person, but more of an attitude. Looking on their Facebook page, I found a description from a review that explains it better. It comes translated by Google, but the point is pretty clear. “His presentation makes it clear: within each person there is a bandarra who wishes to be awakened, that mischievous, rebellious and maverick with the everyday feeling of the irrefutable desire to live and experience new sensations. Free yourself and break with everything you think you know, join us and let the being bandarra flow through your veins… you feel ready?” (quote from review found by clicking here).
We felt ready and experienced a delightful gastronomical journey. We chose 4 tapas recommended by our waiter/chef. He brought each one to the table, where he finished the last cooking details in front of us. Sometimes, he did it with sauces, sometimes with croutons, and often with the heat of a torch. In each case it was like sitting up close by the stove being with the chef as he finished his creations.
We were so enraptured by the experience that we forgot to take photos. So, apart from the dessert photo above, the credit for this other photos is given to the Facebook page of Bandarra Bar (click here). Check out the web site and see how the cooking philosophy of rebelliousness plays out in the urban art displayed on the walls, and the playful combination in the aesthetic of the decor.
Below is a chicken stew:
We ate the chicken pictured below and it was a playful tapas of stir fried, asian infused, chicken.
One dish, not pictured here, was a pork rib with an apple barbecue sauce. The meat had been prepared ahead of time. It was a little like pulled pork. Our chef/waiter brought it to the table, drizzled the sauce with a dramatic flourish, and proceeded to heat the dish with a kitchen torch. It melted in our mouths. He is in the photo below and appears to be one of the owners.
This bar perfectly captured what we love about the tapas style of dining: the sharing of many smaller dishes, the experiencing of several diverse flavors, and the slow pacing of a meal so that the tastes are paced out without producing a stuffed feeling.
Bandarra Bar took it up a notch with the added fun of a personal (and hot) chef completing the finishing touches at the table. The dessert pictured below was entirely created at the table, beginning with the vanilla helado (ice cream) filled chocolate ball, placing it over a drizzle of custard and salted caramel, crumbling the cookies, sprinkling the cocoa, and finishing with the torch to heat the ball, melting the chocolate to expose the ice cream center.