Mont Bar sits on a corner in the Eixample Esquerra neighbourbood. Owner Ivan Castro, who comes from a background in the hotel industry in the Valle de Arán in the Pyrenees, has managed to make this into one of the most popular bars among the city's gastronomy lovers. An eloquent tweet from Castro sums up the bar's spirit: 'You eat haute cuisine and technically acomplished dishes in a 30m² bar, with great background music. And if you want to go out for a smoke, go out, and if you want to shout, shout. That's what people like.'
And that's what makes Mont Bar special: creative cooking – with inspiration and experimentation from the chef and Castro's wife, Ana Merino – in a bar. A real bar (and not just a simulation inside a restaurant). You can go for the tasting menu, or just a glass of draft beer, a salad and a plate of spicy 'patatas bravas'. One of Castro's obsessions is to prove that 'you can do cooking that's just as good and fun as in a restaurant, but with a dynamic, fun service'.
What sets Mont Bar apart from gastrobars (a label Castro hates) is that they really go all out with the recipes. The menu includes 25 items that you can consider separately, or put them together for an incredible tasting menu. And the menu takes such an impressive leap that for a few moments, I have the sensation that this is the most restaurant-like bar I've ever visited. What seem like simple dishes in theory, such as sea cucumbers 'a la carbonara', or ones that are very complicated like ravioli of Japanese radish filled with pumpkin cream swimming in a consommé of mushrooms and spherified payoya cheese, are disarmingly inspirational and original, like those that come from the kitchens of big restaurants.