What makes a meal special? Well, it’s a combination of ingredients including ambience, company, food, and, of course, drink. Now, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s La Barra de Traddiction might well have masterminded the perfect recipe, or perhaps formula, for success on this front.
We’ll begin by describing the way to La Barra de Traddiction before moving on to explain what they’re all about. Then we’ll shine a spotlight on their drinks list. Don’t worry, we’ll finish off by revealing the countless ways in which you can get stuffed there.
1. La Barra de Traddiction: where it’s at
You’ll find La Barra de Traddiction in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s once vaguely notorious Port area. Like most of the Gran Canaria capital, however, this part of town has undergone a certain amount of gentrification. Thankfully, though, Calle Joaquín Costa hasn’t been totally hipstered and still houses an actual, as opposed to faux, Dominican Republican bar as well as the warehouse chic of La Barra de Traddiction.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s a compact city; nothing’s very far from anywhere else, especially in the centre. Calle Joaquín Costa’s within walking distance of the likes of Las Canteras and Mesa y López. Although we recommend taking a Global bus or one of the Guaguas Municipales to the Parque Santa Catalina station and asking for directions from there.
La Barra de Traddiction has the floury fingerprints of chef Ángel Palacios all over it. Namely, because it’s a northern spin-off of his southern outpost: The Brasserie by Traddiction. Although, as maître d’ Alba explains to a grateful Mr Gran Canaria Local, himself a vegetarian, it’s altogether more veggie-friendly.
As well as being a stylish eatery, La Barra de Traddiction is a temple to molecular gastronomy. Mr GCL selects a seat at the bar, on the off chance that he’ll catch a glance of creative Catalan Ferran Adría, egghead chef Heston Blumenthal despite the fact he’s recently distanced himself from the movement, or even Willy Wonka flexing their culinary muscles in the open kitchen. Instead, he’s treated to gastronomic magic from head chef Alejandro and the splendidly-inked Nunzio.
La Barra de Traddiction specialize in show cooking. This is a phenomenon Mr Gran Canaria Local has experienced as Telegraph Travel’s destination expert as a way of hotel chains trying to make their buffet appear more than a pre-prepared selection of mass-produced food kept warm. It works in these big hotels but not to the extent of at La Barra where Mr GCL really does think he’s got the best seat in the house thanks to his close proximity to a kitchen putting on a show that is much more then mere smoke and mirrors.
2. La Barra de Traddiction: what to drink
Mr Gran Canaria Local’s all for a revival. And just as young Spanish drinkers reinvented the staid G&T as sexy gintonic, vermouth is enjoying a renaissance on Iberian shores. What started off a potion in ancient Greece (Hippocrates was an advocate) became a staple in cocktails and La Barra de Traddiction purposefully references Bilbao and Madrid’s classic vermouth bars.
The vermouth menu consists of five varieties. There’s the Casa Mariol from Catalonia’s Terra Alta (2,5€), “macerated with a worldly blend of wild herbs, nuts and spices” which sounds like they were foraged by Ray Mears on one of his survivialist escapades and France’s Lillet blanco and rosado, as in white and rosé (both priced at 3,5€), which are famed for being refreshingly fruity. Not forgetting Dos Déus (4€), a Tarragona vermouth which pays tribute to the wormwood wine of yore and Galicia’s Vermú St. Petroni (4€) consistently rated one of Spain’s best vermouths.
Mr GCL channels Sean Connery’s 007 with a glass of the light and bright Lillet rosado, complete with slice of orange and olive on cocktail stick. He follows that with a decidedly more medicinal Dos Deus. Also on the drinks list are sidras (pear, peach, and forest fruits all at 2,8€) from The Good Cider who have been manufacturing the music-festival favourite in San Sebastian since 1918.
3. La Barra de Traddiction: what to eat
La Barra de Traddiction are great for nibbles. Ideal if you get the beer/vermouth munchies. So you can pair your no-man’s poison with the likes of Chips de patata con mejillones escabechados (1,8€), crisps with marinated mussels, and Chorizo de Teror caliente con miel de palma (1,8€), Gran Canaria’s clear-the-room garlicky sausage served hot with treacle.
There are cold cuts aplenty to be had in a bar which also imitates a traditional Italian deli. Yet the dairy products and meats are exclusively Spanish here. Including Jamón Ibérico Sánchez Romero Carvajal (14,5€) and Queso pañuelo de Uga (11€), prize-winning artisan cheese from the Lanzarote heartlands.
Mr Gran Canaria Local, starts, however with a Tartar de remolacha (9€). Here, beetroot is diced and combined with reinvigorating creme fraiche, flavour deliberate mismatch endive for a bitter contrast, and pearls of freeze-dried raspberries. It reminds Mr GCL of his early visit to Cranks where he instantly felt healthier from first bite.
If there’s one vegetable Mr Gran Canaria Local’s particularly enamoured by, it’s the, IHHO, not-so-humble spud. So, he’s intrigued by the Papas ‘Arrubravas’ La Barra (8€) which combines Canary Islands’ papas arrugadas (salty new potatoes served with a spicy sauce) and the Spanish mainland’s patatas bravas (fried cubes of potato accompanied by an even fierier salsa). He loves the chunky oven-cooked alioli alongside the delicate chives, carefully trimmed by the non-stop kitchen duo.
Over on a table, a Scandinavian mother and daughter are Instagramming their recently-received order of roasted aubergines augmented with parmesan and a literal balloon of mozzarella (8€). At times, eating at La Barra de Traddiction feels like you’ve stumbled onto the set of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. At others, like being at a live screening of The Great British Bake Off with blowtorches and pastry bags amongst Alejandro and Nunzio’s armoury.
Both fish and fowl appear on a diverse menu. There’s pescado encebellado (9€), taking advantage of Las Canteras’ nearby barra which supplies fresh fish and the giant market garden which is Gran Canaria where they grow onions amongst many other vegetables. And pan bao de pato teriyaki con foie (8€), Taiwanese buns of teriyaki duck with foie gras.
Just as Mr GCL concludes it doesn’t get better than this, dessert arrives in a bamboo basket. He’s encouraged to devour each of the four Ningyo yaki de platano (5€), essentially fried banana dolls, in one go and needs little invitation to do so as they’re of the melt-in-your-mouth type of pud. As is the deconstructed Tarta Sara (5€) with butter cream, dry almond meringue, and peach layered on top of what appears to be a jenga block.
Disclaimer: Mr Gran Canaria Local was invited to dine at La Barra de Traddiction for free in exchange for a review. They are open Wednesday through to Sunday. From 12:30pm to 4:00pm and 8:30pm to 11:30pm.
La Barra de Traddiction interiorA little piece of Hoxton in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Show cooking Las Palmas de Gran Canaria styleShowtime at La Barra de Traddiction
La Barra de Traddiction kitchenFour hands do the work of 40 at La Barra de Traddiction
La Barra de Traddiction vegetarian starterBeetroot at its most beautiful at La Barra de Traddiction
La Barra de Traddiction potatoesSpuds you’ll like at La Barra de Traddiction
La Barra de Traddiction Japanese dessertYou’ll become a fan of Japan at La Barra de Traddiction
La Barra de Traddiction tartThe tart’s classy at La Barra de Traddiction