Mouldering in Mollerusa

There’s very little I can tell you about Mollerusa, I was only there for 2 nights and it chucked it down most of the time. I don’t think I missed that much, it appears just to be a small grim rural Catalan town, although I’m sure it must have redeeming features that I couldn’t experience. Even Wikipedia has very little to say. On the plus side, everyone I met was very friendly and nice and did their best to make me welcome.

I stayed at the Hotel Jardi which is right by the station. The room, in a separate block opposite the hotel proper, was a comfortable apartment suite with Wi-Fi, two tellys, a kitchen and a big balcony where you could sit outside. Not that I did much of that with the weather being the way it was.

Joan the English-speaking hotel manager (owner?) is a very friendly and helpful chap who informed me apologetically that the restaurants in town only opened at the weekends, which wasn’t much use to me seeing as I was shipping out first thing Friday.

This put paid to my researched first-choice restaurant, El Gat Negre, just round the corner at 8 Carrer Navarra. Joan said it was a good place but only open for lunch, as was his second choice La Illusio. He did suggest a couple more places you could get to by car such as La Petit Xiroi and Castell del Remei (who can organise wine-tastings) but otherwise there wasn’t much doing in terms of local food.

So, given my work hours, I was left with no choice but to eat at La Tagliatella (22 Avenguida Generalitat), the local branch of a ubiquitous Italianate chain that I’d been avoiding for years all over Spain, but here conveniently located right next to where I was staying. I ate there twice which suggests that while it wasn’t great, it wasn’t too bad either.

The building it’s in is the nicest one I saw in town from the outside. Inside, the atmosphere is quite pleasant with quirky antiques (rowing boats, puppets, brass instruments, shop front mirrors, and motifs of a big Pucinella feeding spaghetti into the gaping mouth of a little Pucinella. The service was friendly and attentive too.

Planning on a healthy girth-shrinking meal to combat the excesses of the previous few days, I ordered the goat’s cheese salad, which was fine (B) and generous in size, but not particularly low on the calories, with two large rounds of deep-fried goat’s cheese and a generous soaking of honey vinaigrette on the salad leaves. The tomatoes where glazed with a syrup that gave them the same texture as toffee apples, an interesting take, but not exactly helping my Kcal count.

The salad came with three fingers of Focaccia, the olive-topped one being the best (B), the mushroom non-descript (C+), and the cherry tomato version still fridge cold (D). The half bottle of Bru de Verdu red was pretty poor too (C).

Having no other choice, except to eat at the hotel (edible but very basic food going on what was for breakfast) or have a kebab, I went back to La Tagliatella the very next night. This time I opted for the Pizza Rustica, a big thin-crust with tuna, black olives, tomatoes and mushrooms covering alternate quarters. I’m more of a Margarita man but bizarrely this wasn’t an option on the menu which held no other attraction for me whatsoever.

I also know a good pizza when I see one having been spoiled in Naples (see my pizza post) and this wasn’t one (C). The edges should be slightly burnt but still doughy (this one shattered like crisp bread) while still being runny and slightly undercooked in the middle (unlike the slab of mediocre uniformity I received).

So if you crave simplicity, this is not a place to come. Choice is their selling point with the menu allowing customers to select from an impressive range of pasta shapes, salad dressings etc. It fulfilled a prupose in Mollerussa but as a food lover, it’s somewhere I’ll continue to avoid in the future.

I’m sure this town is a different place in summer, or at the weekend when everyone comes in from the villages to let their hair down. It’s bigger than I thought it’d be but there are no sights to see at all as far as I’m aware (hence the lack of photos), unless you have an appreciation for the nicely pollarded trees in the tiny Placa Major, which was the only thing of interest the teacher I was working with could point out to me.

In terms of eye candy, the best thing is the three hour train ride to and from Barcelona which takes you through some lovely countryside with green fields and hills, occasionally topped by craggy mountains, some still snow-capped and a brilliant white.

Here’s my Google map for what it’s worth. I hope you fare better than me if you go to Mollerusa. If you do, please share any info you get.

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