Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bar Celona? Where is Manuel when you want him?

Lunched yesterday with ex-husband (and father of Rita’s son Jamie) at Bar Celona, where, as disclosed in my last post, Jamie works.

We ate there for a few obvious reasons, but a good one was for purely selfish motives – for Rita to check out the food, and to check on Jamie’s level of customer service! And I have to agree with commenter Christina – the food there was good food. Nothing startlingly ‘out of the box’ but reliable, upperclass pub food. The prices were what I’d pay in a pub, which now no longer seem to offer the cheap option food we originally were served up in pubs in days gone by.

They were absolutely flat out, with diners sitting both outside and inside, and had they crammed anyone else in, they would definitely have been swinging from the rafters! I was quite surprised with the amount of punters there actually. I presume that is because it was market day, and that they are not quite as hectic any other day.

Don had a Seafood Risotto, and I had crispy Thai-style noodle salad with prawns ($16?). Both were excellent, and we really, genuinely enjoyed both dishes. I tried the risotto, and would have it if I went again. My noodle salad was perfectly chillied, and I had the predictable runny nose after eating it – a sure sign for me that the chilli level was good!

Jamie tried to tempt me with panna cotta dessert, but I felt a panna cotta would be too rich at that stage, however if it had been evening, I’m sure I’d have succumbed.

Unfortunately mythical Aaron wasn’t rostered on till late afternoon so I missed out re-meeting him, but I will return, if only for the risotto, and blue eye.

Bar Celona has the official Rita stamp of approval, but be warned, if you intend lunching there on market day (Saturday), you really must book, or prepare yourself to return home sulking and lunchless!
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Rita: What are your thoughts RE having to serve relatives in a restaurant environment?

Back in my days of working in restaurants, I used to HATE having to serve friends and family, awkward! I ususally tried to get other wait staff to serve people I knew.

Anyway, thats just my opinion, others are different I am sure, sounds like a good meal though, I should get along there....

And on a different note, despite many complaints about the restaurant, I had a great meal up at Angasi last week, thoroughly enjoyed it. Also went to Latris and was very impressed.

Rita said...

Good point Anon 3.02. I think it depends on who the relative is. I hated serving my dad, as I knew what he truly felt about whatever he ate or drunk, no matter what he voiced. Maybe my children feel the same? Jamie definitely knows whether I am being polite or not, so I don't bother trying to disguise my true feelings with him. He cares about his customers and loves hospitality.
When I had my business, I tried hard to serve everyone I knew, as I believe that's a big reason they come to your business. I know when I go somewhere like RVL, part of the reason I go is to see my friend Steve. I feel shortchanged if he isn't there. Whilst I don't expect him to be there every second of every day, I DO like to see him there.

Re Angasi - glad you had a good meal there. Latris is a new one on me. Haven't heard anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Well you made some good points in your response Rita!

Latris is a seafood restaurant on the wharf at st helens. Interior not glamorous, but fantastic view (from our window table we could see a skate the size of a table swimming in the water below us!) and great food.

A different blogger reviewed it here

And someone wrote in saying:
"We were lured to this restaurant by reviews and locality as we were staying in St Helens. The interior seriously needs a rethink, especially for evening service. We ordered classic dry martinis to sip whilst perusing the menu, and were served some concoction with vodka, huge chunks of tubular ice and scent of anise, and upon querying these with the young female waitstaff, were promptly given a very curt lecture on martinis and treated like we were pretty ignorant and advised that a martini with chunks of ice and vodka IS a ‘classic dry martini’. One of our entree’s , the squid was tough and very salty, the garlic garnish on the oysters was burnt and bitter and our pricey lobster dish was undercooked with far too little sauce and once again no parsley! the saving grace of the meal was the steak dish we ordered, which was fine. We were seated quite away from the kitchen but were subjected to a backdrop of one of the kitchen staff belching so loudly that everyone in the restaurant was alarmed and taken aback. To capitolise on the experience, 30 minutes post our return to our accommodation, all attendees at our table were seriously ill for the ensuing 9 hours with a serious gastro intestinal affliction. We can only deduce by the total we paid for our meal that we must have been served the expensive poison. We are pleased to hear that others have had a lovely experience of this restaurant but our little band of travellers found it unatmospheric, a component of the staff well below par and will have to think twice before risking a return visit – a real shame as it reviews quite well."

What a horrible review! I was a bit wary about going, but ended up being great!

Anyone who likes food in Tasmania really needs to get up St Helens way, enjoy the beaches for a few days and eat at

-Village Store and More
(And Margot was good but they closed down!)

Christina said...

So glad you enjoyed Bar Rita.
Next time have the fish. It's a cool little place eh!
Just have to rave about my lunch today at The Republic.
Better food and service you would be hard pushed to find. Phil had Peppered Kangaroo Fillets with roasted beetroot, potato, and wilted spinach. My taste of this was beautiful. Tender, perfectly cooked skippy and the beetroot was an amazing accompaniment.
I gorged on a rib eye,450g,{ I did share with Phil, but mostly he got the bone}, cooked on the bone with a peppered sauce made from pan juices and potato dauphinoise. While not to sure about the potato, the steak was THE BEST I've had in so long I can't remember the last one. {It was probably the republic though}.
Asked for medium and it was cooked to perfection. It was a $35 steak meal and worth every cent!!!!

Anonymous said...

Went to Barcelona for drinks one night last week, we ordered the antipasto platter and pizza's to share.
The platter consisted of dolmades, straight from the jar, a piece of lasagna? Chunky pieces or very un tasteful roast vegetables, italian olives (which were very nice) two very ordinary dips and toasted sour dough and a demi- tasse of pea and ham soup in the middle?- in all a very disapointing unusual antispasto platter.
The pizza's again very disapointing with a terrible pizza base - come on guys surely you are tasting your own food?
Will never order nibbles with drinks there again.
Glad they are doing ok with other parts of the menu Rita!

Anonymous said...

A little bit of gossip - I hear that an internationally experienced local Chef has finally secured a site in the main strip of North Hobart. "Wise move"?

Rita said...

If that's Alistair you're talking about, Anon 10.29, I'm excited!

Christina said...

Just wanted to add, four of us dined at bar celona last night.
The food was fantastic and service was wonderful to a point.
One of our group has some serious food allergies and is in the process of sorting them out. The waitress couldn't have been more helpful and did a wonderful job.
The only let down being we were offered the dessert menu, and decided on desserts and coffee, but no one came back for our order?? We waited a good 20 minutes then decided to go to the bakery for coffee and cake.
Could have added to our bill, but alas not to be.
We also had a minor fright when we were $40 short for the bill, then realised we'd been charged for a bottle of wine I'd already paid for at the beginning of the evening. Lucky the same guy served me and remembered.
Other wise a great little venue, and again the food was wonderful and very reasonably priced.

Anonymous said...

Dined here for lunch last Friday, and I cannot explain in words how great it was!

The food, long island iced tea and service was amazing!

We also got stuck into about $100 worth of top shelf spirits, so even if the food had been crap, we were probably too pissed to know anyway!

We received fantastic service from the gorgerous young waitress, and sat outside under the heated-umbrellas.

The staff are professional, food excellent, and in my opinion prices are very cheap for somewhere in Salamanca.

Great casual dining venue, highly recommended.