[Spain: Barcelona] Hisop - 1* Michelin Contemporary Catalan Cuisine

Hisop is a 1* Michelin star restaurant specializing in contemporary Catalan cuisine in Barcelona and the decor of the restaurant seemingly matches the concept of its food by keeping it modern and simple with bare walls and a singular white color scheme throughout. The menu changes 4 times a year to adjust for the different seasonal products and for a 1* restaurant, I thought that the prices were quite reasonable with mains starting 25€ while the 9 course tasting menu costs 61€ which is what we ended up trying. To my relief, the ambiance was very casual and not uptight at all while the service was on point - pretty much what you'd expect from a Michelin star restaurant. 

Our meal got off to a good start with this delicious raisin wheat bread and 2 types of olive oil from France and Spain. The bread was fluffy soft and very flavorful - it was so good, we couldn't help but ask for seconds and ended up stuffing ourselves with the food to come. 

The first course was a very dainty Bacon Lemon Pie which looked way too cute and delicate to eat. It was like holding a miniature pie in my hands and the flavors were an interesting mix of savoriness, sweetness and tartness.

The Porcini Royal with Horse Mackerel and Tonka Beans had a creative take on the horse mackerel (Aji) sashimi by pairing it with a very delicious mushroom consomme. The combination worked and it turned out to be one of our favorite dishes of the night!

The Eggplant with Smoked Cheese and Summer Truffle had a very smoky aroma and taste but it was be the tiger nuts that surprised me with its snappy texture. We just tried horchata earlier which is a refreshing drink made with tiger nuts that is very popular in the summer time so I was glad to have the chance to try the real bean itself. 

The "Rossejat" Noodles with Squid and Galanga turned out to be the most disappointing dish of the meal simply because it was way too salty. I was very intrigued at first as it was the only dish that was prepared along our table as they had to cook the squid on the spot to avoid overcooking but the flavors were salty to the point of cringing. 

The Fish of the Day with Lemon Verbena, Mustard and Flowers was well executed with a perfectly flaky texture while the flavors were on the light side. 

The Pigeon with Roasted Onions and Rocket was lovely to eat as the skin was crispy while the meat was just right in tenderness. I did find it hard to cut the meat around the bones though and would have preferred if the meat had arrive in a ready to eat form. 

Even though I am not a big cheese lover, I appreciated the selection of cheese which was diverse with goat and cow cheese.

The Watermelon, Chili and Tarragon was very refreshing to eat as the chili added a spicy kick to the otherwise sweet and juicy flavor from the watermelon. 

Lastly, we ended our meal with the Apricots with Hazelnuts, Lemongrass and Ginger which didn't look like much. In fact it looked like something you would find in a toilet bowl given the colors and the shape of the container but fear not, the taste was again a bold mix of sweetness and spiciness which turned out delicious!

Verdict - true to its philosophy, the food here was bold and creative with the intent to create contrast and present ingredients with a different point of view. Not all of the dishes worked for me but I would still recommend Hisop as a place to try contemporary Catalan cuisine given the overall high quality of food and service. 

Passatge Marimon, 9
Barcelona 08021
Tel: +34 93 241 32 33

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