At one Barcelona restaurant they have come up with a high-tech solution to the age old problem of announcing the daily specials
Nestled under the same roof as one of Barcelona's epic food markets and a stone's throw from the magnificent Gothic cathedral Santa Eulàlia, Cuines Santa Caterina is a one-off.
Endless aisles display gigantic squid, lime-sized strawberries and rows of suckling pigs, but rather than taking purchases home to slave over a stove, one can simply walk into the adjacent restaurant.
As well as the vast menu drawn from the full range of the market's produce, new specials are created daily, only these aren't taped to the menu on a flap of paper; they flash on computerised boards that look more like stock market screens than food offerings. Rather than displaying market capitalisation rates, dishes of the day run across each black screen in vibrant red lettering.
The brainchild of Spanish interior designers Sandra Taruella and Isabel Lopez, nine of these screens, each costing €2,500 to install, offer variations of what is an already sensational menu. "We did try to update, modernise and interpret the typical menu blackboard," Lopez explains, "but we found LED technology the most adequate way to achieve this."
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are flat screen systems with a methyl methacrylate plate engraved with any chosen design. The flat screen with metallic frame contains LEDs in the border which project light into the centre.
Manager Perico Cortes explains the system's sheer simplicity – specials are typed into a computer every morning which connects to the screens, so, although visually high-tech, they are elementary in practice.
Cuines Santa Caterina, Mercat Santa Caterina, 08003, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 689 918 cuinessantacaterina.com Tarruella & Lopez, Putget 6, Pasage Particular, Local 8, 08006, Barcelona, Spain +34 932 531 169 tarruellalopez.com