With its overpasses and flashing neon signs, the side street that stretches between World City and The Place isn’t the most natural setting for a classy evening sipping wine. But new Spanish wine bar and restaurant Bar Code is insulated from traffic and much of the noise of nearby shopping centres. An outdoor terrace makes for a lovely evening dining al fresco.
Bar Code hasn’t just inherited the space from its Spanish predecessor Mosaico – it’s continued the tradition of serving Mediterranean wine and food, with new owner Josu Garcia hailing from Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country. The emphasis here is more on the wine than the tapas, evidenced by the endless bottles lining the restaurant walls. The highlight of Bar Code’s extensive wine list is txakoli, a dry white from the Spanish Basque region. Garcia boasts that this quality of txakoli can’t be found elsewhere in China.
The food may be an after thought, but there’s a full menu to satisfy patrons looking for a few bites. The house-made chorizo (38RMB) cooked in white wine is a must, and the croquettes of battered ham and cheese (38RMB) are rich and salty, crispy and gooey. But skip the meatballs, which are dry and tough.
Bar Code also serves tapas-sized variations of tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelettes; 32RMB). Spanish ham is well represented, with the affordable option of ordering it sliced on bread. For hear tier fare, the paellas are served in larger portions, but the chicken version is salty and soupy. At 188RMB, your money might be better spent on more wine. Dessert is another miss. The Catalan cream (32RMB) has the crisp crust of caramelised sugar, but inside is bland and curdled.
Service is mostly pleasant, with some staff from its predecessor bringing a familiarity with the Spanish cuisine as well as the language. Bar Code is a pleasant place to sip wine, enjoy a few choice bites and bask in the summer nights. Julie Wan