Meson Valle del Jerte

I once met a woman, no bear with me. This woman said “I don’t like menu del dias!” which to me is a bit of a strange thing to say….i can imagine someone saying “i dont like cheese” and not liking cheese….but if you said “I don’t like lunch” that, to me, is a bit weird. I have a feeling she didnt really know what a menu del dia was and was just repeating something she’s heard someone say, as she kept asking questions like “how many courses do you get?” “do we really get all this for 10euro?”
As i have mentioned, the menu del dia and our very way of life is being eroded and there are some areas of Madrid where it’s nie on impossible to find a proper menu del dia. and even in a civilised place like lavapies-sur (embajadores) they aren’t all over the place at weekends. So when you’re hungry, thirsty, tired and it’s a saturday and the grain of sands left counting down the lunch window are disappearing, it great when you remember a proper Menu Del Dia place is just around the corner.
So i ended up in Meson Valle del Jerte just opposite Frangus just below the rastro. Jerte is a small town near Caceres but for some reason this restaurant has some connection with Portugal. They sell Sagres and Pasteis de Nata, but maybe it’s just because its opposite Frangus and they buy from there.

Look at that! That’s a site for thirsty eyes….not only a full bottle of wine for one person, but a large bottle of Casera to mix with it. To be honest, i generally find myself rationing Casera as much as wine.

hell of a lot of seafood paella. i wont be going thirsty or hungry

Baked Bream (Dorada), the fish being baked atop the spuds and veggies. Lovely

oh and pudding. chocolate tart. Didn’t bother taking photo of dessert. it’s just dessert.

Old Skool no frills home cooked Menu del Dia. 14 euro (well, it is a weekend). I was able to get myself home and onto the sofa to siesta till half past seven half listening to a hiphop spotify playlist. Tell me if you had a better saturday!

Anton Martin Market 2nd Floor Restaurant

I was thinking about writing a new blog about the gentrification and hipsterization of Lavapies, gastrofication maybe. And I still might. We’re kind of lucky here at the moment as generally the gentrification hasn’t been overlly negative. Local people haven’t yet been forced to become financial migrants and leave the city centre, the new hipster cafe that charges 2,50 for a cortador opened up in a shop selling equipment for growing hydroponic weed, it didnt take the place of a much loved historic bar. So yeah, we’re not Malasana yet…but it’s bound to happen. We will become a theme park to our past, people will be coming to Lavapies to experience the ethnic mix we enjoy now even though the mix of ethnicities will have been forced out by high prices a long time previously.For the moment, I’m finding the choice to hipsterize or to normalize pretty dope. And the second floor of Anton Martin Market in Lavapies Alta is a striking example

I could go and have bowl of (quite frankly disgusting and weird looking) american sugar and cereal with milk and pay from 5euro for it….or i could go to the corner of the 2nd floor and have a 3 course menu del dia with a bottle of wine for 7. Hmmmm….tough choice

I went for the menu del dia

Full bottle of wine, ice and casera? Check!

1st course…patatas revolconos…I may have mentioned this before. Really? I have? Have I ever mentioned Lovejoy? Well, papayas revolconos are to spanish cuizine what Lovejoy is to UK TV….like only the best thing evarrr!!!Slightly mashed potato with paprika, topped with fresh pork scratchings. Yeah! Genius. Think it must be the only thing the Christians managed to do right

Second course, chicken with “sauce” and amazing-assed chips

Think I had ice cream for pudding.

My friends, we are living in the best of times. Enjoy it while we can. Before we’re forced to consume American cereal for lunch

SAD TO SAY. THIS RESTAURANT NOW DOESN’T EXIST. ITS AN ITALIAN NOW.

WE ARE BECOME MAlASANA

el imparcial

Where I come from (Sherwood Forest, North Nottinghamshire, Lil’ol’England, Europe), a tree grows outside…so putting a tree inside, well that seems a bit radical. possibly cruel, possibly heretical. but fuck it eh?!
this is a bizarelly posh place next to a sex cinema in turso de molina….so if you want to do a shop in lidl (which is great, by the way), have a drink and piss in the square (also kind of great) and then go and watch a bit of porn in a cinema along with old men who enjoy the comradery of watching porn in a group situation with fellow minded men and who probably don’t know about the internet…and you would like to finish off your afternoon in a really posh restaurant that has a tree inside it…then this is the place for you.
I just went to the restaurant, not sure i have the energy for the others.
there is a menu del dia which is pretty steep at 16€ and only includes a glass of wine….which is silly for a three course meal…how can you possibly make a glass of wine last 3 courses unless you’re a camel. and there were no signs of any camels demanding a table.
posh places are a bit annoying. first, because they’re posh and make you feel uncomfortable, second because they charge too much and don’t deliver what you’ve given them in your hard earned chashish, third because they tend to employ waiters or waitresses that may look good but tend to be not very good at waiting or thinking…just looking good and fawning. fourth, ridiculous hydration policy, but i could probably link that in with the first point.
this had all of those things…but at the end of the day, the food was nice and there was a tree INSIDE.
I was there with my partner because it was a special day for us, being a friday and the temperature was nice and cool and there was just a chance of rain. heaven.
We went upstairs to the restaurant (there’s a bar downstairs) which was half empty and were asked if we had a reservation and then the main waiter seemed to make a bit of a deal about finding us a table in a half empty restaurant…should have gone the whole hog and asked us to stand outside the dining room and eat standing up outside the disabled toilet. at this point i should say that..the disabled toilet is great. especially if you’re disabled.
my partner, with usual intuitive good taste and penache asked the waiter if, to drink we could have water as part of the menu del dia and then a bottle of white wine which we’d pay for on top of the menu del dia…the waiter said that he couldn’t do that but we could have the water as part of the menu del dia and we could pay for the bottle of wine on top of the menu del dia. errr…ok. various wines were chosen but they didn’t have them before the waiter decided we’d be better having the only white wine they had that was actually cold. so we had that. we both chose the same starter and main course.

starter, salad with wind dried tuna. nice enough. bit salty. that could have been the wind dried tuna. or the lettus. iunno.

main course…sardene fillets on top of thin slices of arabic/pita bread with an aubergine puret. nice.
pudding…fruit cocktail or cheese cake. i double checked that there was no nuts in or around the cheesecake and was laughed off as though i was asking if the dirty old men from the porn cinema had jizzed all over the cheesecake before they served it. of course…the cheesecake came with pistachios around it…but luckily not on it (as i have a nut allergy that would kill three strong men, possibly 4). it was nice though. maybe due to the old man-batter sauce.

so…in the end 24€ each and certainly a place i’d lake a laydee if i was wanting to impress them chika-chika-bow-wow

Terra mundi

I was celebrating today. 4 weeks in a leg brace and today the traumatologist told me i could finally walk like a man. I'd like to say that's the last time i'll jump out of a burning first floor apartment window, but you never know how you'll react when there's orphans to save. And i suppose selflessness and courage are just my default settings. So, long story short..i went to lunch in terra mundi on calle lope de vega, parralel to calle huertas.

I've been coming here for years but had forgotten about it. It's ostensibly a gallego restaurant and it has some distinct advantages.

  1. It's huge. So during the week you've a good chance of getting a table. Although i have had to wait on a sunday
  2. They serve til later than most. You can still get fed if you roll in at 4pm
  3. They put their daily menu on their website so you don't have to waste time hobbling there only to find there's nothing on the menu you fancy.
  4. The food is generally very good.

The owner often holidays is ballyconneely in co.galway and goes seal watching. Not that anybody reading this will care about that, but my family come from county galway and their surname is conneely…so, as bally just means village i suppose this is my family seat. And i have heard tell that we're silkies…mythical creatures who live as seals in the water and shed their skins to live on land. As humans they're conspicuous for their physical beauty…so that rings true. And you should see me balance a ball on my nose!

Anyway, i decided to be adventurous with my first course and ordered the chilled melon soup with a foam of margarita.

I thought it was pretty rank, to be honest. But then i don't really like melon very much…i was thinking of watermelon when i ordered. I was a bit worried leaving so much in case I offended the staff, and waitress did seem very concerned abd, after checking, which languages i could speak, offered to bring me another course. I declined the offer and explained i just found it too sweet. Which seemed to satisfy her. Second time i've ordered badly in as many weeks, first time I seem to have satisfied a lady.Lost my touch.

Before i forget, a word about the wine. Included in the menu is wine from galicia…not sure what type of wine it is..but it's wine. It comes in red, white and rosado. In my experience, ordering red or white will get you half a bottle…but if you order the rosado (which is dry and fruity) you always seem to get a full bottle. So that's what i ordered. Also, the bread is very good…big hunks of galician bread from the mueseo del pan gallego, which sells the best bread in the city, albeit with very little competition.

Spoilt for choice for the main course, i'd have had anything on there except the ever present lacon con grelos…a boiled ham hock with turnip tops…which brings back far too traumatic memories of irish food in the 1970s. Decided to go with the chicken marinated in greek yoghurt because i was seated near the serving hatch and i could see the food going out

Very nice indeed. Not sure what the sauce in the ramikin was, but i mopped it up with my hunky bread.

The coffee in here is awful, so i always order dessert. And usually the same thing…a tart of biscuits and chocolate called biscuit and chocolate tart. I didn't take a picture as i can't get excited about desserts. I feel about desserts how uncle monty feels about flowers. No wonder they're called tarts!

So that was it. 10.50€. Not bad, despite my disastrous choice of first course

 

La Dominga

ladominga (6 of 6)I found myself wandering around Malasaña on a Wednesday afternoon and the window of lunching opportunity was about to close so I picked La Dominga almost at random. What I liked was that there was a choice of two first courses and two main courses, so I’m less likely to be racked by regret and the feeling I’ve made a terrible error.

ladominga (4 of 6)1st course: cream of beetroot,carrot and leek soup with a touch of goat cheese or prawn gyosas served on aubergines done in spicy honey

2nd course: beef stew with tomato and rice or crunchy fishburger with provenzal style chips.

ladominga (1 of 6)I asked for the prawn gyozas and told them to make them blurry.

Nice. I’d only ever had gyozas fried before, but these were boiled. Nice. The aubergines weren’t particularly spicy or honey-y but nice all the same.

ladominga (2 of 6)Crunchy fish burger for main course. Nice and crunchy. Looks like in Provençal they put some chopped parsley on their chips.

I had cuajada (milk curd) with honey for pudding. Didn’t take a photo, it’s only a dessert. Not worth my time.

ladominga (3 of 6)The food was good and not too much of it and it’s a nice enough place (quite dark, so ideal for dates if you’re ugly) but there is a caveat. Instead of the traditional jug/bottle/carafe of wine they just give you a glass, and it’s impossible to make one glass of wine last 3 courses and the waiting time between ordering and the courses…well, maybe not impossible per se, but not very enjoyable or even natural…and they charge you for any subsequent glasses which drives up the price of your lunch quite significantly. So bear that in mind if you’re thinking of investing in lunch here.

La Dominga

Taberna Griega

Maybe it’s a sense of solidarity with a nation even more royally fucked than the Spanish are currently (i say nation, but obviously I’m not including the rich in either country as in both they’re popping the Cristal like never before), but Greek food seems to be all the rage in Madrid at the moment. There’s two swanky Greek delicatessens in Malasaña, a Greek food stall selling Greek wine, olives, cheese and Greek dishes to take away by the ración in Lavapiés market, and in Chueca (a barrio which embraces greek style with a passion) there’s three Restuarants of a Catalan based Greek food franchise…these restaurants seem to pay more attention to decor than the food as they’re, frankly, disappointing and I don’t think I’d bother going back.

I was surprised to come across a Greek place in Pacifico, a far less fashionable barrio than Lavapiés, Malasaña or Chueca…and even more encouraged by the fact that it seemed to be a barrio-style place rather than an upmarket, chic, pretentious place…because it’s rare to eat well in such places.

Having said that, it isn’t cheap cheap with a menu del día weighing in at 17€ for 3 courses with wine. But, I reasoned to myself, it’s the price you pay in a city where any dish that isn’t resolutely Spanish is met with fear and loathing, or indifference at best.

I started with the prawn saganaki…prawns in a tomato sauce. Nice enough and plenty of prawns.

The wine was from Crete, which I must admit worried me slightly as I’ve not had positive experiences with wine from any erstwhile part of the Ottoman Empire…but it was actually really nice. Dry but fruity.

Main course, I had the beef suvlaki…mainly to see how it compared with mine, which I made a couple of times over summer. The photo…well, and the plate itself looks pedestrian to say the least, but the meat was tasty and obviously good quality. I got the impression it might have been marinaded in yoghurt as well as the usual souvlaki marinade…which was interesting…i shall try that myself. The chips were perfect too, and you can’t beat a perfectly cooked chip.

Pudding was a choice of things with nuts or almonds in, which would have had the unfortunate effect of killing me dead. I had one eye on a siesta…falling asleep on the sofa while listening to the most glamorous fixture of the day’s football fixtures, doncaster rovers against nottingham forest…so I persuaded the waiter to bring me a dessert that wouldn’t kill me, rather than a coffee which would have made a siesta impossible. He brought me a bowl of greek yoghurt with honey. Can’t complain about that

All in all, I’m glad I went and I will return. Also handy for pre-lunch vermouth in the celebrated Bodegas Casas

http://www.tabernagriega.info/

La Otra Casa

This restaurant has been open for quite a while now, but this was my first time here. Principally that’s because they don’t open for lunch on a tuesday, and tuesday is my day off and the only day I regularly eat out. I should have told them this.

First of all, it looks like it’d be a good idea to book a table as they take lunch bookings and the place was full.

15€ for 3 courses, 17.50€ for 3 courses and pudding…wine NOT included. So, we’re talking a larger investment in lunch than almost everybody I know, or is worth knowing, would care to make. But, being a flash cabron with fistfuls of extra cash that needs to be spent before the taxman cometh, I steeled myself and continued on my sacred quest for a nice lunch in Madrid.

The waitress explained that there were 3 courses (excluding dessert) but not to worry because each serving was small. (She obviously didn’t make the same mistake so many make and take the bulging nature of my midriff for a belly, rather than what it actually is…a 6 pack so well defined it sort of bulges over my belt a bit. Or she thought I was pregnant)

First course….octopus in oil infused with rocket. Absolutely delicious. I’m not sure what the rocket oil actually brought to the party, but the octopus was perfectly cooked and tasty as eff.

Second course…potatoes stuffed with black pudding

( i realised after almost finishing that the black pudding contained pine nuts. I’ve never been sure if I was allergic to pine nuts – i’m allergic to most nuts – or not, so have just avoided them. But i’m still alive so, i must be o

3rd course. Oxtail lasagne

Must say, all the food was delicious and a nice amount too…I didn’t have to be rolled home to siesta as so often happens. My ma would think I needed psychological treatment or an exorcism if I told her there were restaurants I don’t go to because they give you too much.

Now…the painful part.

Look away if you’re of a sensitive nature.

Another point I should mention is….the menu is printed rather than chalked onto a black board like most places…and doesn’t change on a daily basis like most places. In fact, I don’t think it has changed since it opened. So if you go three times you’ll have had everything they serve.

No complimentary digestif either

Taberna J.Blanco

Seemed to me that I’d been flirting for a while too long with restaurants that fancied themselves as high class. It was time for me to return to my first love, the comforting bosom of an old-skool castizo menú del día. The Taberna J.Blanco fits the bill to a tee.

As an indecisive person who likes most food that isn’t cauliflower, I love to able to choose between just two options rather than five or six. First course..soup or scrambled eggs with garlic stalks; second course…roast leg of lamb or a fish we English speakers have never heard of in a tomato based sauce. (I know what it is…I’ve eaten it…no idea what it is in English, so I looked it up…Toothfish or zoologically speaking Trachinotus Goodei…told you you’d never heard of it.)

Front of house and the maître d’

Pre-lunch table

View to the left

Soup came in a tureen. Chickpeas and spinach cooked in the stock from a cocido madrileño (madrid stew. Don’t ask. You don’t want to know. Basically every form of meat and chickpeas cooked in a stew).

Very nice. I couldn’t finish whole tureen. Not sure if I was supposed to. Scoffed two bowls though.

Roast leg of lamb and chips. Lamb perfectly cooked. Tender as eff and falling away from the bone.

I’m not a big fan of pudding, but if I have a coffee I can’t siesta…and they had leche frita..fried milk! Well, milk with egg yolk, flour, sugar and cinammon. So I had that.

Delicious.

Three courses with bread and a carafe of wine for 9€. Not bad

Badila

Aside from Atlètico’s storming season, there’s not much good news coming out of Madrid. It’s cold and raining for one thing. I also heard something about massive unemployment, price and tax hikes, wage cuts, banks throwing thousands of families out of their homes and corrupt, immoral elected and unelected politicians.

Still, there is a ray of light…..Lavapiés doesn’t rest on the laurels of its reputation as best barrio in Madrid, rather it continues to strengthen this claim. Speaking of immoral, corrupt politicians….the last two ex-mayors of Madrid claimed they came to Lavapiés as students for cañas. Sure. And David Cameron and Michael Gove supplemented their meagre student grants as bare-knuckle fighters and drum n’bass dj’s.

Badila is one of the many nondescript old places that has been rejuvenated, by people who give a fuck. Strange how often this is happening in this corner of Madrid, while in others, nondescript old places seem to simply become parts of chains like 100 montaditos. Somehow, I can’t imagine a 100 montaditos opening up in Lavapiés. Though, like all bars and cafès here, I bet it’d still be packed most of the time.

Starters…sorry, you can’t see that very well…on offer was…cocido soup; bacalao croquettes; rocket salad with mozarella; pumpkin something…and what i had…spagghetini with speck, grated tomato and herbs

My jug of wine came with a plate of migas so I didn’t starve while they prepared my first course.

Migas is typical of Castilla-La Mancha. It’s all they eat there. I should know, there was a time I spent almost every weekend in a village the name of which I choose not to recall. Ok, Escalona. It’s of the fine tradition of peasant food made from stale bread and has pork products like bacon and chorizo mixed in there. It’s much nicer than it sounds.

Second course I was in two minds about. So I said to the waiter “I’m in two minds about the second course…the meatballs in saffron sauce or the eel stew with squid…what do you think?” He didn’t speak a word of English so was stumped. I shouted “for gawdsake!” Threw a glass at the wall, sat down, smoothed down my unruly barnet and simply asked the same question again, but in Spanish this time. He recommended the eel stew. So that’s what I had.

Absolutely bloody delicious…and so much I had trouble finishing it.

Dessert was the usual suspects…rice pudding, flan, fruit. I was too full anyway and plumped for a coffee.

At 13,50€ for a weekday menu, it’s obviously not the cheapest option…but i’d say it’s definitely worth it in terms of quality. And quantity. Decent amount of wine with it too…these posh looking places can often just give you a glass…which is difficult to stretch out over three courses.

I asked and they also do a menu at the weekend for 15,50€

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Le petit bistrot

Voulez vous!

I’m not sure what that actually means. I was in remedial french at school…sat with the kids that couldn’t read English never mind a second language. I was even threatened with suspension because the head of year told me I had deliberately failed the exam that was to stream us into levels after a couple of weeks of repeating the days of the week and some numbers. If only they’d tried to teach us how to say woodland animals in French, I’d probably have gone on to do a masters at the Sorbonne.

Despite this trauma, I’m decidedly a francophile. I’ve even met upwards of half a dozen French people and liked all of them. A croque monsieur is preferable to an english toasted cheese sandwich, a portuguese tosta mixta or a catalan bikini. However, I’ve never spent more than five days in Paris (where i was forced to share a bed with a young Matt Briggs, now of the South Yorkshire Fire Service. If ever I was destined to be bi-curious, having to share a bed with an excessively flatulent yorkshireman put the kybosh on that) and only two day trips to Calais. 50% of those trips are just a blur though.

Coincidentally, two unconnected friends had told me how good this restaurant was (i mean…two friends who don’t know each other. I’m not contrasting them with my connected mafia friends) AND I happened to get into a conversation just yesterday about french onion soup. As you do. So it seemed like fate when my friend/son Andy suggested we go there for lunch today.

It’s a bit pricey at the weekends, 17,50€ for the set 3 course menu…with a glass of wine…and the menu del día is replete with dishes that require a 3€, 4€ addition to this set price. There were 4 of us drinking wine, so the waiter left the bottle.

I went for onion soup. I just deleted the word french from that…because you wouldn’t say you had an italian pizza in a trattoria, would you?

I’ve never had onion soup before, i realised. And certainly not french style with bread and cheese on top. Tasty enough. I wouldn’t mind experimenting myself with this.

Main course, with my sophisticated pallet i opted for the hachis parmentier…oui, tres chic, non?

…..it’s basically shepherd’s pie…and what could be better than that. Good to see that British food so impresses the french they have their own versions. Mind you, the french did more for British culture than any other invader of the land…so I think it’s right that we pay them back with delicious food. In the background is Andy’s burger with goat’s cheese. Never sure where to put that apostrophe to make the possessive…how many goats are involved in the making of cheese? And not like it’s theirs anyway…they’d not be able to spread it on their baguette, what with their impractical cloven hooves.

For pudding, once again the French looked to their former subjects for inspiration…rice pudding with nutmeg.

Nice experience and a pleasant place. I think I would have preferred a surly waiter in a wine stained vest and a gauloise hanging from his lip rather than a reasonably polite and attentive fella. Bit more than I would normally spend on a lunch. But at the end of the day…sommes comme un coq en pâte

(Thanks to the lovely Caroline for the second photo…as i managed to delete mine from my phone after stuffing the shepherd’s pie hachis parmentier into my gut)

Tumi: restaurante peruano

I’ve never had peruvian food…and as we waited patiently for the waiter to take our order…and as our patience wore thinner and thinner…I thought I never would.

This restaurant opened last summer on the soon to be newly refurbished Calle Santa Isabel. I think this particular local has changed purpose, name and cuisine every year I’ve lived here. At the moment it is Tumi Restaurante Turístico Peruano.

I hadn’t realised that Peruvian food had the reputation as being one of the best cuisines in Latin America. I also read later that Peruvian food was the fad de jour in London (last year it was Spanish food, I believe). Another surprise was the culinary influence of the many Chinese immigrants to Peru over the years.

Tumi is brightly lit and decorated with pictures of famous Peruvians. Well, I assume they’re famous…I couldn’t think of any apart from Ivan Zamorano. And it turned out he was Chilean.

It was a weekend and the menu del día was 13€ for 3 courses with a glass of wine or a beer.

I ordered fish ceviche as I’ve never had it. You might say all ceviche is fish…but I’d stop you there with a waving finger and a tut-tut…apparently they do prawn ceviche too.

It’s thinly sliced white fish which is “cooked” in Tiger”s milk..lemon juice, lime juice..not sure really..there might be some CharlieSheenMilk in there too. Served on lettuce with red onion…some weird sort of alien corn on the side and a slice of sweet potato/yam. Nae bad.

We waited another good while for second course. I had the feeling the waiter and the woman behind the bar…and the cook…were all the same person and the waiter was having to do some sort of elaborate Inspector Clouseau quick change routine…for some obscure reason.

Finally main courses arrived…but the food we’d ordered wasn’t the food which arrived and had been destined for a different table. Another quick change…a bit of cooking…a change back into the waiter disguise..and we received our main courses twenty minutes later. Mine was a beef stew with beans served with enough rice to feed a hungry unit of the Shining Path after a hard day’s class war.

It was tasty enough. Slightly…cool…but, but to be honest, I spent enough lunchtimes eating tepid food in lokantalar in Istanbul that the heat of a dish doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

Pudding was a peruvian version of flan. Which was just flan really, except maybe a bit bigger than you’d generally get in Spain.

Three courses in almost three hours. Not that it makes much difference to me, I have a sad empty life (hence this blog)…but if you fancy giving this restaurant a go, you might have to pencil it in for a whole afternoon. Of course, they could have just been having a bad day…maybe short of staff….a waiter might have called in sick with a sore thumb which meant he couldn’t comfortably hold a pen….like a teacher in a certain institution did recently.

THIS RESTAURANT HAS SINCE CLOSED. SORRY

San Bruno – stalwart

Second day running I’ve not been able to get a table at Los Chuchis, so we turned around walked up the hill (with a brief stop in Lo Maximo for a spritz, which is a manly drink…only for them to be out of campari…which is equally manly on its own. you heard it here first) into the welcoming arms of the Taberna San Bruno.
I’ve been a regular in here since moving to Madrid….well, since my second year in Madrid, in my first year I was working for an international academy (which will remain nameless) who prefer to keep teachers on starvation wages to keep them lean and hungry for a spot of teaching.

San Bruno has even entered my spanish lexicon as a verb…

¿Dave, qué estás haciendo?¡Estoy sanbruniando!

While there’s always a friendly welcome and a vermouth while they prepare my table, the food can be hit and miss. It’s almost never actually bad but it can occasionally be pedestrian. The litre carafe of wine and post lunch digestif of patxaran sort of makes up for this occasional slip. Just as occasionally though, they outdo themselves. Today started with a bit of a miss.

The revuelto de marisco (scrambled eggs with prawns) was a bit so-so…and i didn’t fancy much else on the first course menu.

The roast leg of lamb for the main course, however, was a triumph. Very meaty and tender and bloody tasty. Served with sliced spuds cooked in stock

Homemade flan to finish, which was lovely although possibly difficult to eat while driving or parachuting…if only they could invent some sort of mobile flan for such occasions.

(That’s a film reference btw…)

I forgot to take a photo of it though.

As it was almost xmas, Willy the cuban waiter (who speaks german as well as he speaks english..which is very well) gaves us two free glasses of patxaran.

Weekends and fiestas the menu is 15€ and during the week it’s 10. Was 7,00€ when i first started coming here. During the war

Place up the road has just put its weekend menu up from 15€ to 20 in one fell swoop. Thank god for the 1% pay rise i got for the last three years

¡Hoy he estado sanbruniando!

 

Los Chuchis

I was told about this place by Bryn from rastrobar/linguafranca…lucky he did as I never walk up that part of Calle Amparo and it would have gone unnoticed and untried.

It’s a great example of an old man bar that’s been done up with taste and passion…but there’s even better news….wait for it…

…wait for it….

The chef is English!!

You might be able to see from there that they have a couple of real ales in there…and a menu del dia at a very reasonable 9,50€ or 12€ at the weekends. Closed on mondays.

This was the menu today.

I went for the soup, which was very nice indeed.

And of course…sausages and mash…with onion gravy. The sausages were lush…i asked where they bout them from…but they said they imported them themselves.

I’m not a fan of hp sauce…but i took a photo of it anyway.

I had a coffee instead of a pudding…but it came with a biscuit and a hazelnut chocolate.

There aren’t many tables in there, so i’m imagining that when word gets out that there’s an English chef plying his trade in the ‘hood there’ll be people fighting over tables.

El Pico

I’m not often in Malasaña, but I found myself there and hungry and at the latter end of the window of opportunity that is lunchtime in Spain.

I’ve been coming to El Pico very irregularly for years. When I first started eating here it was a straight-forward, good value for money madridleño menu del dia…gradually the food became more inventive and more care was taken with presentation (you know the sort of thing…bit of parsley sprinkled on the edge of the plate, a pattern of balsamic reduction)…but despite this, the place itself or the quality of the food never changed or suffered…nor did the price shoot up.

I went in there today…maybe a year after i was last there…and the change was obvious…bare brick walls…fancy new bar…posh looking printed menus. As time was a factor..and i still had a fair amount of trust in the place, despite these trendy looking london-stylee changes…and, unusually, i had ’nuff money in my pocket…i decided to chance it

Here’s the menu. I went for the fabes con gambon y mejillon..a bean stew with a massive prawn and a massive mussel in it. And for the main course, merluza rebozado…got a wee plate of spare rib paella while they were preparing my first course..and it was delicious…wee crunchy bits of pork mixed in with the rice and the spare rib itself was lovely.

Weekend…so a bit pricier than you’d expect…

The first course was great. The big white beans massive, and the sauce tasty. Quite difficult to shell the big prawn with a knife and fork…and can’t really do with fingers as covered in sauce.

Main course was battered hake with onion, pepper, courgettes done in a wok. The veg was great, really tasty and the hake was out of this world…seemed to be done in the cadiz style…i imagine using chickpea flour and a pinch of cumin.

I was impressed that the waiter came and asked me how my first course was…and then again when the second course came up and asked “how’s the hake, lovely isn’t it”…you don’t normally get that level of pride with your average menu del dia.

I could hardly finish my main course, so i eschewed chocolate tart or various fruits in favour of a coffee