I’ve done a series of posts on Melbourne-style cafes around the world. I quite enjoyed being an arse, travelling around the world only to compare things to back home. So I’ll continue with this one, which is more of a bar/restaurant. Bienvenido a tapas en Granada.
Spain (Granada) – Babel
This tapa joint sits comfortably on Calle Elvira, a street in the centre buzzing with locals and tourists searching for a meal or drink. The eateries on this street can be hit or miss, so it helps to have some time to try a few or have one recommended to you.
I am recommending you Babel. My friend took me there one afternoon, and I remember being disappointed that Babel was one of the few eateries here that didn’t have the brightly coloured comfy cushion seating that many of the Middle Eastern restaurants have to park the toosh on. But I was glad this didn’t deter me from trying Babel because the care and creativity that is put into the tapas and meals here is something that makes this bar stand out.As the name suggests, Babel is a befuddlement of dishes from everywhere. I think people in the know call it fusion cuisine. I tasted Thai, Italian, Palestinian/Israeli, and of course, Spanish dishes. You can sit at the bar or at one of the wooden tables, and then choose between Granada’s drink + tapa genius twosome or an entire meal. But beware: the meals are big! If you have a friend with you you could share a plate along with a tapa or two with your drinks.
Since TLC is put into most of the tapa options (some are a little average,) it may take longer for your food to reach the table than other bars in Granada where often the food is pre-made. While you wait you can stare at the arty-National Geographic’esque images covering the walls.
I tried the hummus tapa, maybe a silly choice after having just been on one giant hummus crawl in Israel – but I wasn’t let down. The pasta tapa I had was meh, something your lazy cook can do at home, a Thai noodle tapa (god I miss Thai food) and a falafel tapa. Each of these course came with my drink orders. In retrospect, we must have been at Babel for some time since I’m quite the slower drinker. And eater.
The staff aren’t the friendliest bunch, but they do bring the food to the table. And sometimes that’s all that matters when the food is this good.
Sister-bar/restaurant in Melbourne: Tom Phat, Sydney Road Brunswick. I made this decision based on the fusion cuisine element, a bar/restaurant vibe and the care taken into putting each plate together and ensuring beautiful presentation. Please note the staff at Tom Phat are a bajillion times nicer. Both restaurants offer a range of cocktails and attract a (younger) crowd at all times of day.
Very Melbourne: Modern fusion cuisine in a multicultural city.
Not very Melbourne: A (little) free meal with every drink? I don’t think pricey Melbourne would be too keen on that.