The Japanese restaurant The Tatami Room is located on the street Poeta Cabanyes 19, (in between Avenida Paralel and Carrer Blai) in the district Poble Sec.
The Tatami Room is divided in two levels, the dining area on the entry level is called the Sakura/cherry blossom room The ceiling is decorated with flower printed lampshades and cushions in different colours, here they offer what for us westerners are regular chairs and tables.
The scenery changes as we move down stairs, the look is more tranquil. Here The Tatami Room makes up for its name, because here we can find the traditional Japanese Tatami seats with Horigotatsu.
What´s Tatami you might ask? It´s a traditional type of mat used as flooring material in Japan. Horigotatsu is sitting on a Tatami mat floor, but the floor under the table is dug out so you have leg space as if you were seated at a regular western style table.
On the walls we can find hand painted Japanese art and from the ceiling natural light simmering in from the skylights. The whole restaurant makes me think of Japanese taverns, with it´s simple lines, wooden decor and colour combinations.
As I got to speak to one of the owners Hugo about the food I also got interested in how he got fluent in Japanese, which he speaks to the chefs Nao and Yoshi when they pass by my table.
It shows he had been living in Japan for 15 year before landing in Barcelona more then 5 years ago. Starting out as an English teacher in a ski resort, then living in up in Tokyo, meeting his Japanese wife, to writing a novel on the Japanese mafia – Yakuza, but to get his research right for the book, -he got told he need understand the Japanese Wabi-Sabi.
The concept referring to the capability to see the beauty in the imperfection. So that’s how he started learning the art of Udon and Soba making in the hands of his wife´s dad.
Talking about the Udon and Soba, this brings us back to the food, and what can I say, the Sushi made by Nao, who is a third generation sushi chef from Osaka makes my taste buds jump. Salmon, two types of tuna, sea bass and eel, all fresh, tender and just melting in my mouth.
For the main dish I savoured the musty Kimchi Ramen soup made by Yoshi the Ramen master chef. The Kimchi Ramen is made with the base of pork broth with noodles and topped with pork meat, seaweed and green onion.
To get the characteristic white/brown tonkotsu broth that’s used in this Ramen the bones are cooked at a rolling boil for many, many but many hours.
During these hours the fat, marrow, and other matter are broken down into the liquid and creates the opaque, rich and flavourful broth.
Hugo tells me that Yoshi, the ramen master chef, is fine-tuning a couple of more recipes to cover the Ramen craze that’s going on in Barcelona. At the moment they have five different styles and a Vegan and a Gluten free Ramen will be available by the end of this week.
The other main dish I got to savour at The Tatami Room was the Clam Ramen (8,50€), which is on the “Hot” list in Japan at the moment, and for what I know, The Tatami Room is the only place in town that offers it!
Hugo and Jason got their hands on the recipe directly from good friends and equally chefs in Osaka, Japan.
To prepare the Clam Ramen they use clam stock, yamaimo root or directly translated from Japanese “mountain potato” and yuzu to create the broth equally rich in flavour, but falls lighter on the digestive system and works as a healthier option to the original tonkotsu based Ramen.
Hugo reveals that as we speak they are working on a non-soup Ramen, he shows me a couple of photos, and yes, it looks amazing, for sure i´ll be back!
So why not head over to The Tatami Room, kick of your shoes and slide down on the Tatami and enjoy a delicious and authentic Japanese meal?
To see the full menu at The Tatami Room click here.
The Tatami Room´s opening hours:
Tuesday to Thursday 13.30h –15.30h and 20.00h – 23.30h
Friday and Saturday 13.30h – 15.30h and 20.00h – 00.00h
Sunday 13.30h –15.30h and 20.00h – 23.30h
Carrer Poeta Cabanyes 19, 08004 Barcelona
+34 933 29 67 40
*I was invited as a guest to The Tatami Room, however all the word and opinions are of course mine.