Food - 9.5/10
Ambiance - 9/10
Service - 8/10
Serving modern tapas but with a firm grounding in Catalan flavours and ingredients, Cata 1.81 is a great choice if you want to spice things up from the more traditional tapas found in Barcelona. Thankfully the innovative dishes aren't so abstract that they take away from the spirit of what tapas is all about. If you choose to stop buy you'll definitely have a satisfying meal while also having an exciting dining experience. We chose the 11 course tasting menu which was a steal at only 40€
First up was a salt cod stuffed ravioli. The ravioli was actually a single sheet of delicate pasta that was folded carefully around a creamy salt cod filling.
Quite possibly the best 'Patatas Bravas' the entire trip. The potatoes were perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside while the tomato sauce was thick, sweet and intensely flavoured. Thankfully they didn't take the lazy shortcut of saucing the potatoes with a mixture of mayo and tomato paste (Without a doubt a sign of a substandard restaurant).
This dish was introduced to us as "I love NY." The roast beef burrito topped with a creamy curry sauce was delicious and eventually made us think of an ode to New York Street food.
Tortilla de patatas i trufa negra or potato omelette with black truffles was like the traditional tortillas we had for breakfast but was infused with the aroma of truffles and just slightly runny in the middle.
At first glance this dish seemed to be boring old mac and cheese but once you get a mouthful the flavours of white chocolate and saffron surprised us. The crunchy black salt provided a nice colour, flavour and texture contrast to the dish.
Our fish courses started with this cone of mixed fried seafood which was fresh tasting and matching perfectly with the orange and lemon mayonnaise dipping sauces.
Next was seared sea bass served over a bed of hearty lentil salad.
Our meat courses began with this perfectly roasted quail served with an onion sauce.
Following the quail was this very satisfying pressed and fried terrine of oxtail served with roasted apples.
As if we weren't full enough, two dessert courses awaited us. The first was this molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
Last but not least dark chocolate wrapped in filo pastry, baked until crispy and served with course sea salt. A nice sweet and savoury way to end a magnificent meal!