We opened the BLAI9 Tapas Bar in November 2013 with the clear aim of offering an exceptional range of tapas that was different from what was available in other tapas bars in Barcelona.
Exceptional because of the excellent price-quality relationship of our wide variety of original, lovingly-prepared pintxos (tapas on sticks), priced at €1,2 and €1.7 each.
They stand out because instead of using the typical slices of bread as a base for our pinxos we decided to opt for a varied selection of high-quality small-scale products from different gastronomic cultures, such as Blinis, Crêpes, Piadine, Croquettes, Pittas, Churros and others, and fill them with traditional tapas ingredients like squid, mini chorizos, spicy sausage, smoked salmon, salted and fresh anchovies, prawns, mini burgers and Spanish omelette; the result is original, tasty and painstakingly made tapas.
Here are a few examples:
- Instead of using the traditional slices of bread as the base for our spicy sausage and quail’s egg pinxos we lay the quail’s egg on a crêpe filled with chorizo and poached potato, skewered with the spicy sausage and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
- For our Philadelphia and blackberry jam pinxos we replace the slice of bread with a piadina filled with spinach, ricotta, bacon, raisins and pine nuts, spreading the cream cheese over it and topping the lot with the blackberry jam, a mint leaf and a crunchy pastry comb.
Our wines are unusual too, good quality and with personality. They are produced by ROS MARINA VITICULTORS, a small traditional Catalan vineyard in the D.O. Penedès region. They convey respect for the environment, work, and love of the land where they come from. We offer you the Ros Marina Cupatge 2011, an exceptional organic wine that won the silver medal in the 2013 Catalan Wine and Cava Competition.
All in all, what we have tried to do from the start is to offer an attractive alternative to the concept of Tapas, perfectly described here by Vázquez Montalbán and Luís Cepeda:
“Tapas offer the palate multiple joys; brief, but constant. A pleasant ritual, a movable feast, full of favours, imagination and freedom totally unlike any other gastronomic culture. Going from bar to bar eating tapas is a slow communicative way of eating, because you do it standing at the bar, surrounded by other addicts and almost always treating others to a round and being treated by them.” V. Montalbán
“Tapas are the culinary expression of a lifestyle in which you try a bit of everything, you chat a lot, you drink intelligently and you reach the unusual conclusion that the world is good in small portions.” L. Cepeda
“There is a holiday feeling hidden behind the variety in this culinary tradition, and the suggestion of a group journey to the socialisation of joy”. L. Cepeda
Where We Are
We opted for a location on Carrer Blai in Barcelona’s Poble Sec, aiming to become part of this unique lively street, which is just off Avinguda del Paral.lel with its wide range of theatres and places to eat and drink.
We chose the ground floor of a listed building on the corner of Carrer Blai and Carrer Salvà because it allowed us to create a space where eating tapas could feel like being on holiday and would suggest this group journey to the socialisation of joy.
We restored the brick walls and the double-pointed arch typical in traditional Catalan architecture and used items we were given by Sr. Antonio de l‘Aguelo, the owner of a famous tavern on carrer Avingnó, and Sr. Ramón, the previous tenant and a well-known figure in the neighbourhood. We benefited from both gentlemen’s wisdom and knowledge about Poble Sec and the art of eating tapas, their pleasant conversation and their kind gifts of valuable articles such as the solid wooden bar, the big marble sink, the wine tongs, the jugs and the old sign from the toy and firework shop that was there before. All these artefacts helped us to create an authentic traditional atmosphere in a pleasant and charming place.