Think of this as an experiment, a training ground. After pastry school boot camp and years of paying his dues in restaurant kitchens in Milan and Barcelona, Marco was ready to open his own place. Why vegetarian? Not because he’s militant, really, but because he still finds vegetarian cuisine exciting, younger, perhaps, and more open to innovation. It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that the first mushroom burger was mushed into existence. Thrilling! And this man wants to play.
In a twist, having been open a mere month and a half at the time of writing, he’s already frustrated with Quinoa’s very modest proportions, the lack of a real and full-sized kitchen. He wants space where he and friends can sit and talk about food and then pop into the kitchen to play with it, mold it, burn it, splash it about. From the way he talks you get the impression that this good thing will not last long (at least not in this 19m2 format). Like I said, training ground.
Marco’s warming up, coming to grips with running a business, with being a new member of the autónomo de mierda club. Oh, the joys of being your own boss! He’s going to succeed, because his food is excellent, fresh, slow and sourced from the mercat de Gràcia about ten steps from the front door. And because Quinoa can walk the line between vegan-punk and weight-conscious-posh-semi-wanker that all vegetarian businesses must, at some point, cross. Try the zucchini spaghetti salad with lemon, pesto, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes (€5.50). A+. The burger changes daily but the mushroom one was spot on. Eco pils from Deutschland, craft beers from Catalunya and Sicilian bio wine (grown on mafia-owned land!) start at vegan-punk prices (beers at €2.20 and vino at €2.50). So far, so very good.