**** Sadly, TOC closed its doors for good. ****
The small restaurant on the corner of Carrer Rubi and Carrer d’Estade looks like it’s been there forever. The random vintage-chic, a wonderful cast-iron column, a couple of regulars at the bar plus the friendly and skillful staff all add up to a cozy, almost familiar atmosphere. Dhani Oberoi has been working in many kitchens before he made a dream come true and opened his own place – actually, just a few months ago. TOC soon became a popular place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Dhani is a true cosmopolitan: his family is Spanish-Indian, and he grew up in London. Accordingly, the small menu is a creative Mediterranean-Indian-Asian fusion. On our first night at TOC’s we took a culinary trip around the world: The lentil soup was hot, spicy and with a perfect Asian texture. The tartar de boar would have been Asterix’ choice – I never had that before, but I liked it a lot. We also went for a tuna sashimi with Japanese seaweed salad. And then there is a broad variety of cheeses on the menu; if you are into artisan cheese, TOC’s signature plate is a must.
The night shift is Santa’s turn and it is quite a show to watch him prepare the dishes in the tiny open kitchen. You can also just sit at the bar and listen to the cool feel-good music from the 70’s and 80’s. Next time I will ask for the playlists. This time I was asking whether TOC really stands for Trasterno Obsesivo-Compulsivo (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Yes indeed, Lorenzo Farolfi, Dhani’s friend and manager, explained smiling. Dhani has some compulsive habits, like arranging the dishes in a very particular way. But he admits to them freely and has learned to take them easy.
The hood behind Plaça Major has long been neglected but I always loved beautiful Plaça del Banc de l’Oli and the neighboring streets. Monge had its first store right around the corner before it moved to classy Carrer Colom, and Gustar has been a fixed star for many years. At the intersection of Carrer de Rubi and Carrer Estade fashion meets food, art and style. Suite 13 (joined by Maravillas Bags) was there first, Supermercats and Amenamen followed. Now TOC completes the quartet.