Some may say it’s a sin to go to an Australian cafe when you’re in Barcelona. But Federal Cafe is an exception. It’s a place which does brunch so well it can’t be missed, even if you’re in a city which offers some of the country’s best tapas and local cuisine.
So there are in fact two Federal Cafes in Barcelona, which I didn’t realise at first. I went to the original, in the cosy neighbourhood of San Antoni, which is very popular with locals (so I didn’t feel too bad about abandoning tapas for brunch), but it also has a sister cafe in Gothic, which may be a little more central for some.
When I got the tour of Hotel Brummell (a stunning boutique hotel in Poble Sec, Barcelona), I fell in love with the interior design of the place. I was told that the Australian duo who were responsible for the design, Blankslate, also had a brunch place: Federal Cafe. Funnily enough it was already on my hit list, and I could see some clear similarities in the design. It has that slight Scandi feel (even though the place was inspired by the Aussie town Federal, near Byron Bay), with lots of wood and huge amounts of light and block colouring (I love their use of dark grey and bright yellow). Their roof terrace was fully booked, so we sat inside on the first floor, by the wide open windows. Downstairs there is one huge window which is completely open, and feels like you’re sitting outside. I love it.
The menu offers exactly what I love for brunch. It has the avocado/sourdough bread/poached egg combo which never goes amiss (but admittedly is not hugely original). And then the epic french toast with poached pears and creme fraiche option. Or a smoked salmon omelette. And finally some seriously delicious Turkish eggs (and the presentation really wins here).
We found the service hit and miss, but the coffee so good it made up for it.
In short, it’s a keeper, whether it’s Spanish or not. Should you find yourself in Spain and feel the need for a good Aussie brunch, then not only are there two Federal Cafes in Barcelona, but there’s also one in Madrid, and one opening soon in Valencia.
Carrer Parlament 39, Barcelona
Photos are my own