David Caral

Interview with Chef David Caral, Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar, Bangsar

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Two and a half years ago I opened my own restaurant here in KL, Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar. In Spain, gastronomy is a common daily topic of conversation, it is everywhere. From when I was a kid in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother until today, it has always been a part of me. I’ve had the curiosity since I was very little and the interest just kept growing till today. So I figured, why not professionalise myself in something I like? And that’s how it all started.

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
I remember when I opened the Fishhh restaurant in Barcelona, many great Michelin chefs came by. Listening to their advice and witnessing how they were applied was very gratifying.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part without any doubt is the satisfaction of the customers. The worst part is when many customers come at once and you have to serve them all with the same service standards that they’d expect if they were to come one by one. Although I must say that the adrenaline rush I get during these times is a good feeling and it’s a good learning experience too.

What’s your favourite meal/ drink at the Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar?
It is not easy to answer. There are many and it depends on the day. It’s like how you don’t always feel like listening to the same song or reading the same book, so it really depends on the day. But if I had to choose one, I would opt for the Pinchos morunos and a glass of good red wine.

What’s one of the wildest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
I have many stories. In a restaurant, every day is different and there are many variables at play. I remember once when I was working in New York City, the lights went out and we had to get out all the flashlights. On top of that, the kitchen was full of smoke as the smoke extraction wasn’t working. It went on for about six hours.

The perfect day off would be…
Starting the day with a long shower, without any haste. Then I’d enjoy a good show, whether it’s a musical, theatre, or concert followed by a nice dinner at a restaurant. Most importantly is that I do it all in no hurry! That’s how you enjoy a day.

A day in the life of a chef is…
Every day is a constant search for everything, be it for new products or new experiences. You have to find balance in everything that you decide for the restaurant, including factors like costs, adapting to the local palate, customer experiences and more.

What do you do for fun?
Travelling somewhere new is always a fun and enriching experience.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar?
Mercat always pays respect to the authenticity of a Spanish restaurant, in terms of the atmosphere, food, flavours, and drinks. The experience you get dining in Mercat is the same you’d get anywhere in Barcelona. We are known for always paying attention to authenticity.

What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
Good cheese, good bread and a Priorat wine.

What’s your view on the food in Barcelona?
I am lucky that Barcelona, being a very cosmopolitan city, is very happening. There is an excellent gastronomy scene with excellent products and great restaurants of all kinds (traditional, avant-garde, innovative, themed, etc). Every time I return from Barcelona, I return with a lot of new ideas.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I am currently working on opening another restaurant soon. For more updates and announcements, follow us on social media – FB: @Mercat.KL, Instagram: @MercatGastrobar

Read about our experiences at Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar here.

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2 Comments

  1. Great interview, Monica, and he has a lovely smile!

  2. “The worst part is when many customers come at once and you have to serve them all with the same service standards that they’d expect if they were to come one by one.” Yes, too many people is definitely no excuse to compromise on the quality.

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