In Barcelona Malpaso used to be a punk club in Plaça Reial. These days it's the name of a publishing house with a leaning toward the pop culture and out-of-the-ordinary essays, which releases little-known gems from authors ranging from Neil Gaiman to Kingsley Amis. Malpaso is also the publisher's (Mexican) restaurant next door.
'If we have to put a label on it, let's call it a Mexican restaurant,' says Salvador Barba, the restaurant's (Mexican) manager, who says that the project was 'inspired by the old French publishing houses, where all parts of the business lived together in the publishing house itself'. The restaurant doesn't look like what you might expect from a Mexican eatery –rather Nordic, pristine, angular. In fact, the touch of colour comes from covers of books on the shelves, which you're welcome to browse before, during or after your meal, with an option to buy. This is all very cool, but what about the food?
The chef, Eduardo González, from Mexio City, says that at first they wanted to make dishes from around the world, but in the end chose to make it 100 percent Mexican. The menu gathers together traditional Aztec dishes, such as the crispy-tortilla soup (a real hangover cure), alongside their own hits, such as Moctezuma tuna (a fish foreign to Mexico), breaded with spices and served with 'pico de gallo' salsa, avocado and mint sauce. That said, if you're craving enchiladas or tacos (they have tongue ones!) cooked at the level you want in a world heritage cuisine, you can get those here as well. The set lunch menu leands toward the 'Mexiterranean', but without pretense, and you get very good value for money. The desserts are spot-on, and you can get Mexican sandwiches for breakfast, which have until now been totally undiscovered in Barcelona.