When it comes to culinary knowledge, we suffer from a curious dysfunction in Barcelona. If you go into any restaurant that serves Asian cuisine, the staff can tell you the difference between ramen and pho (and certainly also between an 'aeropress' coffee and a 'kalita'). But ask them about the difference between 'rillette' and foie and you’ll see a look of confusion creep over their faces. French cuisine is still mostly undiscovered in Catalonia, despite our geographical proximity.
Enter Le Bistrot de Pierrot, a highly recommendable example of a popular French classic trying to spread the word by the best means possible, through its flavourful dishes. From its great location in the Barri Gòtic near Via Laietana, Le Bistrot de Pierrot’s owner, Pierre Verchére – who happens to be from Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy and home of exquisite food and cooking with butter – explains that he had always wanted to open a restaurant. And after five years working in Barcelona at a multinational, he says, he didn’t hesitate when he’d finally saved enough money.
Yes, Lyon is where you’ll find the famous category of ‘bouchons’ – the typical restaurants with Designation of Origin – but Verchére wanted to combine ‘the influence of home with specialities from all around France, so people can discover dishes from Lyon but also from the Alps, the south-east, and so on’, creating a kind of greatest hits under the bistrot's roof. I stumbled across the Pierrot by chance, and five minutes after I’d sat down – reading a French menu, listening to French chefs, wait staff and customers – I had the feeling that this was the real thing (Verchére notes that ‘people do not come to eat because we’re a French restaurant, but because they consider us a neighbourhood restaurant in the centre of town’).
I opted for their ‘midi’ scheme, similar to the local ‘menú del dia’, with a starter and a main for around €13 or a main and dessert for about two euros more. I had an onion soup that should be served by the national health service as a cure for the flu, and a good, thick entrecôte steak that’s so juicy you’ll need extra bread to enjoy it to the end. I also chose a glass of biodynamic Cahors wine, which was excellent. Verchére pointed out other specialities on the à la carte menu as well as the midi menu: a house special of duck rillette (they do indeed know from rillette!) – they make the confit themselves and crush it until they get this delicious stewy paste with butter, something impossible to get in any Barcelona deli shop – and a 'tartiflette' (Savoy gratin with potatoes, reblochon cheese and pork scratchings), beef tartare and Dauphiné ravioli, with fresh cheese and comté cheese.
The menu is set up simply: five snacks you can share, five starters, five mains and five desserts. This is a place to eat seriously and well.
|Venue name:||Le Bistrot de Pierrot|
Julià Portet, 6
|Opening hours:||Mon closed; Tue-Fri 6pm-1am; Sat 1pm-1am; Sun closed|
|Transport:||Jaume I (M: L4)|