Word is starting to get out that Barcelona Wine Bar (1709 E. Passyunk) is now serving brunch on the weekends. But is it any good?
The hispanophile in me was opposed to the concept at first. Tapas for brunch? Why can’t they do a menu del dia instead? (Menu del dia is an multi-course meal served midday in Spanish restaurants, in case you didn’t know.)
Usually at brunch, you’re starving, and it makes sense to eat your biggest meal of the day while you still have time to burn it off. Tapas traditionally are enjoyed late at night — a little sustenance before enjoying “la marcha” or nightlife.
But sometimes you have to break with tradition and with the tapas at Barcelona being so yummy (and affordable), I was willing to give the whole tapas at brunch thing a try.
You can start off by making yourself a bloody mary at their bloody mary bar, but I elected to go with a light-bodied red wine. (I can break with tradition, but I need to do it in baby steps. Next time, I’ll be all about the bloody mary bar.)
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The brunch menu includes a number of their popular dinner options, like the charcuterie and cheese, albondigas (spiced meatballs in a ham-tomato sauce) and pulpo (octopus in manzanilla olive aioli), which are all delicious.
This time around, my dining companion and I tried the chorizo with sweet and sour figs from the dinner menu but focused on brunch-themed tapas like the vegetable frittata, smoked bacon steak, serrano ham benedict and the pan con huevos.
The vegetable frittata ($8) is a must if you’re doing brunch at Barcelona. It’s served in a huge pan, bursts with color and flavor (thanks to all the yummy veggies in it) and provides a great centerpiece for the meal, since most of the other dishes are smaller.
The pan con huevos ($6.50) looks like delicious cheesy bread but when you cut into it, there’s a gooey egg inside. It satisfies your carb cravings with a little extra protein — another winner.
With eggs benedict being my go-to item at any brunch, the serrano ham benedict ($6.50) did not disappoint. The dish only comes with one though, so if you don’t want to share, order two.
Finally, no brunch is complete without bacon and the smoked bacon steak ($7.50) is basically a thick cut of bacon seared a la plancha. Who could say no to that?
Even Sous Chef Will Shaw calls it his favorite dish on the brunch menu.
“The bacon gets a nice crispness to it and is super tender. Bacon anything is hard to go against,” he says.
Overall, the brunch at Barcelona East Passyunk is excellent as long as you stick to the brunch-themed tapas. Some of the dinner options are a little too rich to enjoy so early in the day. (The chorizo with sweet and sour figs was excellent — but didn’t pair well with the rest of our brunch tapas.)
The best part about it is that you get to try a number of different brunch dishes without committing to one entree. With sweet options like the pancakes with caramelized apples and torrijas (French toast), you can have your sweets and your savory, too.
Brunch is served at Barcelona East Passyunk on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit: barcelonawinebar.com.