When Sandra told me we will have lunch in a little bio-agro shop where they also served meals, up in the Pyrenees (in Sant Joan de les Abadesses), I was a bit skeptical. But afterwards, taken by the wave of nice conversation and the Ripoll sight of the monastery (the cradle of Catalonia), I forgot all about it.
Therefore, at lunch time, I just quietly (and extremely hungry) entered the Casa Rudes. Being received by a blond and cheerful owner (named Montse Trinidad) had a very good influence on me.
We (my better half, myself, Sandra and her husband, Jan) got the last unreserved table in the empty restaurant and started a linguistic debate over the menu: the Catalan and the English did not contain the same food. After laughing over the differences and establishing which is which, we have prepared for the feast, ordering one first meal, one second and a desert (as it is the Spanish custom when dealing with a fixed menu).
And a feast it was: mille-feuille with mushrooms and mustard sauce, beans salad with jamon, pork cheeks with little sweet onions, butifarra filled with mushrooms (it is not common, thus worth mentioning) and, at the end homemade crema catalana and… ice-cream made of turrón.
We have chosen the wine of the house (red, dry) to go with it – and what a good choice it was.
Until we started to eat, the place was filled with locals (Sant Joan de les Abasesses is a 3.469 inhabitants village), some celebrating a girl’s birthday (with ‘Happy Birthday’ in Catalan and all).
We started a conversation with Montse, who told us that the place was in her family for four generations (since 1893). The products were all natural; as for the cooking and serving they have only hired one more help (that was not from the family). At the entrance there were some newspaper articles about the place: it was famous in the area, and one of the few who met the requirements of being called ‘centenaries’. I promised Montse I will send her an e-mail with the link to this story; she told me that soon I might be able to find them on Facebook, ‘as it is now necessary to be on social media’.
So, go eat there until the place becomes too famous and will lose the charm of old-meets-new-meets-delicious.