For the main course, the soul bowls, of a Hawaiian, Middle Eastern, or Asian bent, are a popular option. My mother loved her Buddha Bowl, the epitome of vegetarian goodness, and there are pescatarian and pork options as well.
The Coals dishes, prepared in a traditional Spanish hearth oven, also deserve a look-in (or an eat-in?). As Hollywood says: “We wanted to bring coals into our kitchen: to experiment and differentiate. Cooking on coals is something beautiful, especially in a restaurant environment. And we said: ‘Let’s go old school. Big fat kabobs — on a menu.” The Crying Tiger Pan of Prawns (which also includes a beef rump kabob) is a sophisticated “surf ‘n’ turf” for the Instagram generation.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I could wax lyrical about the Gintonic Tart, but I’ll leave you to sample its delights for yourself.
Just as diners are taken on a gustatory tour when eating at La Boqueria, so the restaurateurs view their enterprise as a journey. “We always started out thinking that we want to introduce tapas, but it evolved into so much more as the space evolved. And we realised (that by) bringing authentic styles of cooking, we could broaden our food offering,” Hollywood says.
As much as La Boqueria has impressed at its launch, the restaurant’s global markets-based theme is the magic ingredient that will allow it to adapt and grow in the future. “We could choose a market in Kowloon, or Peru, or Morocco: draw foods from there, interpret them, and bring them to the fore,” Hollywood says. “This, for me, is the best thing about La Boqueria. I believe we’re always going to be able to evolve, and bring our customers something new.”
17 3rd Avenue, Parktown North, 011 325 0011.