There can be few small enclaves in towns that I enjoy walking around more that Barcelona’s El Born.
The current accolade for best tapas in town was said to be held by Cal Pep.
So it had to be hunted out.
Unfortunately, it appeared that tripadvisor had also got wind of this.
The queues were legion.
At pretty much anytime, the wait is 45 minutes. Not too bad you might think. Yet this usually means queuing along the small gap against the wall inside. Right behind diners. Bad for you and not great for eaters. Who wants to eat with someone breathing down your neck, desperate for you to scoff up quick? I recognised the vibe from the trendy tapas places in London’s Soho that opened a few years back. It’s not good.
So perhaps the best time to queue was pre-opening? A line forms around the same three-quarter’s of an hour early. You are teased throughout by the commotion you can hear the other side of the shutters.
Yet when one member of staff came around to open up, it struck me what a wasted chance there’d been for them.
It was all about them. How hard would it have been for someone to come out, walk up and down the queue and say thanks for waiting, a word or two about the food tonight, or ask where in the world we were from?
Two minutes for immeasurable PR.
And yet there was nothing. We were meat on a conveyor. And then once in, the odd regulars are even allowed a drink whilst they wait.
As for the food, well, not bad. But not great either. Certainly not worth the price tag. A couple of hundred yards away around the corner in Santa Maria square, Bastaix was better. And friendlier.
Are you taking your customers for granted like old man Pep?
Comb those queues and help shape a memorable experience for them.
Cal Pep himself;
The amazing Bastaix black pud, goats cheese, caramelised apple on toastie brioche with a drizzle of honey, and a glass of local wine, Vespres;