Jordi Aros, co-owner along with Kuldeep Singh of Masala73, which opened in Barcelona in mid-2017, says that ‘between the trends of Peruvian and Mexican food here, it seems the Catalan palate is changing’. And the demand for Indian cuisine? Indian restaurants have been around in Barcelona for about 25 years. Masala73 isn’t a classic Indian restaurant, the type with 70 dishes on the leather-bound menu – in fact, it started out as food truck, speaking of trends. Rather, as Aros says, ‘Everything revolves around the curries because usually at an Indian restaurant curry is treated as a side dish. We do four curries as mains, and everything else is a side.’
Aros describes Kuldeep Singh, the Indian co-owner, as a diamond in the rough. ‘I was executive chef and he was the dishwasher in a restaurant where we worked together, and in six years he’s become the head chef, and he’s great!’ says Aros. The essence of Masala73 – a stripped-down yet refined space – is ‘to use the Kuldeep family’s recipes and modify them, using local and updated techniques and products’, says Aros. They don’t want to even hear the term ‘fusion’. And the truth is that what they do they do well: the short menu at Masala73 features four excellent curries (green vegetables, aubergine, chicken tikka masala, and an especially tender lamb, with meatballs from Ternasco DO).
The spirit of the contemporary food truck – new recipes crossed with street food – will take them far: the ‘Bomba Mumbai’, for example, looks like a meat-and-potato ‘bomba’ you’d pick up in a Barceloneta bar, but it’s made with veg and chickpeas and features a potent curry mayonnaise. Bravo!