Nairod in Barcelona, pure restaurant

In David Rustarazo’s new establishment no detail is out of place, and there are no useless frills. His dishes show a strong French influence

21-10-2019
Grilled snapper with spinach, onion, beetroot, fen

Grilled snapper with spinach, onion, beetroot, fennel and capers, a dish from restaurant Nairod, Carrer d'Aribau 141, Barcelona, tel. +34938089260

You won’t find him on social networks, he has no website, and ask him everything, but not his picture. Strategy? Not at all!  When you ask him, he says: is it absolutely necessary? It seems not. Opened late in February, Rusti’s new restaurant was immediately a sensation.

Nairod is the first personal project of chef David Rustarazo, aka "Rusti" for his friends. After training with the first wave of innovative and informal restaurateurs pioneered by OTLa Estrella de Plata and Santa Maria (none of them is left, unfortunately!), Rustarazo  moved to Rafa Peña’s Gresca and spent some years with Albert Ventura at Coure, with a break of two years in Miami. At 36, the moment had come to take flight by himself.

Opening a small restaurant in a city crowded with new culinary offers, often absurdly ambitious, may seem daring to say the least, just like taking over a very popular place among the food lovers Barcelona, and only counting on one’s strength.

It doesn’t matter: a coat of paint, a change in the cutlery and the result is an intimate setting that successfully welcomes his culinary offer. And it doesn’t matter that the chef, in the first few months, worked in the kitchen by himself (Marc Muñoz is now by his side), and that the dining room is still the sole responsibility of the remarkable Rosa Coronado (with some help as of September): this is a pure restaurant, with no concessions and no useless frills.

Rillettes of guinea fowl preserved in vinegar, roasted endive and radishes 

Rillettes of guinea fowl preserved in vinegar, roasted endive and radishes 

Pork croquette, cheddar and hot pepper 

Pork croquette, cheddar and hot pepper 

Rustarazo is a real chef who has taken the hardest road, with not tasting menu and recipes with a guaranteed outcome. Instead, he’s preferred to focus on lengthier preparations, a little out of fashion, and very hard to find in Barcelona’s restaurant scene. A good example of this is given by the Quail (or guinea fowl, depending on the season) rillettes, the lukewarm Galantine with apricots or the Leper in the style of Senator Couteaux.

In his dishes the influence of French classic cuisine shines. The Omelette with sardines and Basque chilli peppers (you can’t help scooping the sauce with some bread!), the Double crunch pork croquette with cheddar and chilli pepper that goes straight to the top in the most croquettesque city in Spain, the impeccable Sweetbreads and the Pigeon cooked rare: these are already dishes not-to-be-missed, untouchable in a menu that is in fact short and evolving.

In the country of olive oil, David has no problem in using butter to thicken magic sauces paired with his best dishes. And the sweet finale is just as worthy, with few but striking offers: 100% chocolate, the traditional torrijas with wild strawberries and zabaglione with sweet moscato; and a special mention going to the sublime crêpe suzette in spring which, after much praise, will return when oranges will be in season. And he finishes with a selection of cheeses, with a strong French accent, but very pleasant and precious.

Veal sweetbreads with daikon, courgettes and pistachios

Veal sweetbreads with daikon, courgettes and pistachios

CHEF AND MAÎTRE. David Rustarazo and Rosa Coronado

CHEF AND MAÎTRE. David Rustarazo and Rosa Coronado

He promises wholepièces, marine and earthly, and dreams of the autumn and the arrival of the hunting season. David against Goliath? Yes, perhaps, since even this Davide is sending blows, we hope mortal, to the banality of the huge restaurant scene with the sharp stones of the great classic cuisine.

This is a prodigious time that seems to have non end, one with so much talent it risks becoming ordinary, and with accessible prices to most, so much so that one cannot understand how it can be that so many carbon-copy offers have thrived. This chef has great knowledge and personality, he doesn’t like to appear but he’s not afraid to say loudly that he doesn’t understand what is happening in the restaurant scene. Let’s leave him to cook and take care of him, it’s worth it.

Nairod
Calle Aribau, 141
Barcelona, Spain
+34.938089260
restaurantnairod@gmail.com

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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