last week, myself and four other midlands food bloggers headed over to barceloneta in the clarendon park area of leicester for a foodie meet up. queens road in particular is a lovely area of leicester, home to a handful of independent shops, delis, cafes and your usual charity shops as well as a few specialising in books and records.
barceloneta is a spanish restaurant which is part of a independent trio of businesses on the road; bar dos hermanos, barceloneta and the salvador deli. welcomed with a friendly smile to the beautifully decorated tapas restaurant, little did they know five food bloggers had just stepped into the door...
both the bar and restaurant were already bustling with hungry tapas fiends, which is pretty impressive since it had only been open for half an hour. the interior certainly had an authentic mediterranean feel, with bright blue tiling across the bar, old wine bottles on the ceiling, leafy plants and chalkboards of spanish specials.
with the mouthwatering menu divided into meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, it was super easy to pick and choose as you would expect with tapas. lindsay of leicester veggie is vegan and found it easy to pick out three or four things from the menu that were dairy free too. something i wouldn't expect to find with all that manchego cheese, spanish omelette and garlic aioli on offer. we racked up 18 dishes in total (well what did you expect?), with three each and then extra patatas bravas and vegetable paella to share.
i went with monkfish and tiger prawn kebabs, grilled goats cheese balls and crab and prawn croquettes.
these were the star of the show for me, with soft and succulent monkfish, gigantic fresh prawns and slightly charred peppers. the prawns were still in their shells which did look great for presentation but wasn't so practical for eating. i personally don't mind the faff of de-shelling my own prawns and actually quite like it, although it meant i couldn't eat them straight off the skewer.
these were beautiful too. i hadn't heard of these before but the sound of goat's cheese breadcrumbed and fried with a honey dressing and red onion marmalade had me sold. the slightly sweet and sticky exterior with the soft and mellow cheese centre made these a real treat. the honey was just a genius combination with the goat's cheese. i would definitely recommend these for sharing, as after four i was full. i realise that's very, very greedy of me but we'd ordered so much food we didn't try much of each other's.
the last tapas treat for me was the croquettes made from scottish crab and prawns and served with a lemon mayonnaise. with a very crunchy bite to the outside, the inside was packed with a delicious mix of brown and white crab meat as well as a generous amount of prawns. the light lemon mayonnaise really lifted the heaviness of the croquette - the ultimate dipping sauce for seafood tapas in my humble opinion.
in all i really enjoyed the dishes i chose, as well as the lovely spanish plates they came on. to hear about the rest of the meal, you'll just have to keep an eye out for the latest posts from leicester veggie, the foodie couple, charlotte louise thompson and gingey bites. oh and if you're a leicestershire blogger, or from nearby, just give us a shout on twitter as we'd love to meet you!
54 queens road,
note: we paid for our own meals as undercover foodies - thanks to barceloneta for putting up with our intense picture taking!