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!

La Falda de Lavapiés

Ok, sorry about the ranting and the non-Madrid based eating and drinking. Back in my comfort zone now. You fuckers didn’t want to hear me sing my truth anyway.

Now…look at this photo and tell me what problem you see

I won’t insult your intelligence. If you know anything about how to live life and aren’t clinically insane (no shame in it) it’s more than obvious.
The salad was really nice…i’m not ashamed to tell you I really like quinoa and also everything else it came with was calm…cucumber, tomato, red onion, a touch of mint, crunchy bread crumbs. shitload too much salt in it, though. I’d never imagined or seen people put salt in salad until I came to Spain. Love of salt may explain why hypertension is so popular in Iberia. Can’t just be me making it cool.
For the seriously slow or those that just don’t know anything about how to live properly, what do you notice about the main course (beef-burger made of castrated male cow, I had it well done so i couldn’t hear the screams of the vanquished, tortured, humiliated and murdered cow. was nice)

Yeah obvious, wasn’t it, And you knew exactly what was going to happen from the first photo.
To be honest I’ve not really seen much negative about the gentrification of this barrio. I bought the DaveCave© before gentrification started here….and it has mainly meant that shitty bars/cafes have become nice bars or less shitty bars. La Falda was an odd local, as it was the first time that a shitty old man became a hipster place briefly before turning back into a shitty old man bar and recently became a fairly decent gastro-bar and has been getting a good reputation for platos, pinchos and tapas. I have heard that in Malasaña, where gentrification and hipsterification has really taken hold, that it almost impossible to get a menu del dia. I certainly don’t want Lavapies to suffer the same fate. I don’t really get this thing of just giving you one glass of wine for a 3 course menu. This is Spain and cheap wine is cheaper than cheep, it’s cheaper than tap water. How can you make one glass of wine last 3 courses? You could hide it, you could keep it on the other side of the building, you could maybe order a glass of wine that you really don’t like (but I’m not sure that exists…outside of the UK or parts of what used to be the Ottoman empire)…it’s just ridiculously tight and means I’m much less likely to return here. It’s not that I need a whole bottle of wine. But I want a whole bottle of wine. Or at least not have to sip a glass of wine so slowly that you’d think it was the only drinkable liquid I had and I was trapped on some sort of lifeboat in the middle of an ocean surrounded by dave eating sharks.
So, get it together yo
here is their facebook page if you want more actual information….like the address, or photos…the sort of stuff that I’m way to busy
https://www.facebook.com/La-falda-de-Lavapiés-626682344140720/

Buns & Bones

Possibly the worst restaurant name i’ve ever come across, but i suppose it’s memorable. or not…i had to google it to write this.
Anyway, it’s a new restaurant on the outside of Anton Martin Market bottom corner if you were going to walk down to the Reina Sofia.

I suppose their shtick is that they get their ingrediants fresh from the market. the buns thing is, i think that half the menu contains bread and the bones bit is dead things that once had bones. i say half and half but there’s a large part of the menu that says “neither buns nor bones” and is given over to things that never had bones nor are served in bread.
We started off with Metze de Lavapies, the buns bit was pita pan and 3 things to put on to or into the pan…olive tapanard, hummus and guacamole. I thought that was a bit steep at 7.50, but to be fair…the waitresses were delightful, not that i’m ever swayed by a well turned ankle

I just got paid, so as a working class man, I am culturaly bound to spend it as quickly as possible. Not for the likes of I the more sensible deferred satisfaction, so i ordered a half a lobster. to eat. think i’d only ever had it once before. i felt all Kanye n’shit.

I should maybe have googled how to eat it properly because I fear I may have made a right pigs ear of it. Possibly why I’m not being considered for the new Bond.
My partner ordered the tandoori chicken, which was a brave thing to have on a menu in Lavapiés…bit like putting faggots & mushy peas on a menu in Nottingham, lot to live up to

My lobster was as nice as any i’ve ever had and the Tandoori chicken was apparently pukka. the roast potatoes that came with both were nice. Also, one of the lovely waitresses gave us a couple of beers free…I’d like to think that it was her way of being flortty-flortty, but it was probably because the chicken took a very long time and i’d finished stuffing my face with very recently murdered sea animal before my partner got the chicken.
Despite my rock star main course, the bill wasn’t too bad…21€ for two of us, a shared starter, lobster and 3 beers each

La Caleta

WordPress gives you various information about visitors to your blog: which pages they read and which country they were in and if they came by way of a google search, what they were googling that led them to your blog. The other day someone found my blog by searching pie drinking porn. I imagine he or she must have been very disappointed with my recipe for oxtail shepherd's pie. And people looking for hot lesbian badgers are going to be equally disappointed with this post.

La Caleta has been around for qute a few years but recently moved up the hill from Calle Tres Peces to Calle Santa Isabel and into a huge space that used to be an Indian restaurant. Calle Tres Peces is undergoing quite a change these days…what used to be the most depressing old man bar el aperitivo has been done up nicely in the way these places are transformed by dimmed lighting, half decent music and decent free tapas. Opposite is la infinita….book shop cafe with wifi. Don't order the house white…i have a glass of it in my hand at the moment and it's ropey to say the least.

Back to La Caleta. It's a gaditana bar which means it's a Cadiz themed place. Massive picture of Camarón on the wall as you walk in. Videos of Camarón on big screen at the back. If you've never listened to La Leyenda del Tiempo then I beg you to do so.

Cadiz is also famous for battered and fried fish which is served in paper. Sound familiar? Battering was invented by the Phoenicians apparently and Cadiz was a Phoenician city. There you go. I'm not sure when the English got into battering.

 

I order a racion of the bienmesabe. This is chunks of cazón, a sort of flat shark (rock salmon in english..if you've ever heard of that) which is cut into chunks and battered. The batter definitely has a bit of cumin in it. Bienmesabe is one of those things that is great when done well, and appalling when, more often than not, fucked up. A bit like the way a pint of Guinness can be the best thing in the world, or quite the opposite. I ordered it as I assumed it would be ther stock in trade as a Cadiz style bar. Very nice.

Not cheap though, that racion and a doble of beer was 13€

Now….to cruise the internet for sexy young ferrets covered in gravy

 

Washoku

In the San Fernando market in The people’s republic of Lavapiés you’ll find Wasoku sushi, which also sells Japanese products and hosts Japanese cultural events…they had a demonstration showing you how to wear a kimono last week.

You can order to takeaway or just so it’s ready when you arrive via whatsapp or sms on 672883139

I’d only ever had sushi and maki before I came here for the first time last month and randomly ordered the “picnic” menu box which was 3 onigiris (balls of rice filled with fish and a bit of seaweed around it and seeds on the outside…that is maybe the worst description ever…because I don’t think I’d ever had anything so tasty before) and 2 Inaris (pockets of…something…filled with tofu and seaweed…bloody lovely)…after missing my flight to Lisbon the other week, I went back to get a takeaway version for the 9 hour bus journey. Yeah…why take a 50 minute flight, when you can enjoy a 540 minute bus ride instead? Did almost make it worthwhile as I tucked into my tea in the car park of a service station on the outskirts of Badajoz at 12am

The other thing I should mention is that they’re really friendly in there and I was on first name terms with the half-spanish half-japanese woman who runs the place. Ok…obviously I should rephrase that, she knew my name and called me by it while I only registered her ethnicity and gender.

Went there today with a friend, who’s no stranger to Japan & Japanese food. He was impressed. 26€ between us. And complimentary saki after we finished eating.

There’s not many seats at the bar there, so while they prepared our food (15 minutes more or less) we nipped 15 metres away and had a pint of czech beer from the market’s beer shop/bar…for 2€. No…that’s not a typo…pint bottles of czech beer for less than the price of a 33cl of spanish beer in even the grottiest of old man’s bars.

I can’t recommend this place enough

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

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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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

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.

mercado san fernando

Following the recent trend for doing up markets in the city, like the san miguel in austrias and san anton in chueca, the people’s republic of lavapiès has done the same with the mercado san fernando. I get the impression that this new incarnation has been…incarnated…without what might be left from taxes after the PP has creamed off their cut.

As well as a host of new stalls and bars, they’ve got new opening hours…no more closing for a couple of hours in the afternoon and it’s even open on saturdays and sundays.

Lavapiès seems to be at the forefront of the new “real ale” movement…well, not exactly real ale…widening horizons from mahou and….err…mahou sin alcohol…to…other beers. There’s a bar on calle argumosa called el pedal which claims to carry 200+ beers…and in the mercado there’s a shop selling all sorts of beers…german wheat beers to british IPAs…if you can’t wait to get your new beer purchase home, you can drink it there. Big bottles of german weizenbier are about 2,50€

There’s all your normal market stalls such as fishmongers and greengrocers…as well as delis selling weird foreign products

…like mint sauce, apple sauce and dijon mustard. Looking at the price he’s selling his coleman’s for…i’d guess he won’t be open that long. He does lemon curd too.

There’s a place that sells ready made greek food and greek products. There’s also a bar that sells wine by the litre from large vats

As well as the new places, there’s still the traditional old boy bars

…cañas in all the traditional bars seem to be 1,20€ including a tapita.

Just another place that adds to Lavapiès’ reputation as “the best barrio in madrid”

La Alhambra

Despite being a people who are instinctual anarchists, the spanish are ultra-conservative when it comes to food. Not just what you eat…it has to be Spanish cuisine, preferably cooked by your mother or grandmother; contain no herbs other than parsley; certainly no spices….but also when you eat, there is a definite window of opportunity when it comes to mealtimes, miss that window and you’ll have to forage for yourself. Luckily there is an oasis in this parochial gastronomic desert…and that oasis is….The People’s Republic of Lavapiès.

On Calle Tribulete, for example, there is La Alhambra. The kitchen is open all day and friendly waiters serve Moroccan cuisine at more than reasonable prices.

I tend to come here if the window of opportunity for lunch has snapped shut before i’ve managed to fill my belly…or on the odd evening i’m not working till an unearthly hour and I fancy an affordable meal that I haven’t cooked myself.

Today I had stewed lamb with chips and rice. You can’t ever overdo the carbs.

(Unless you’re on the Atkins’ diet)

I should point out that for cultural or religious reasons…this restaurant is dry…so you wash your food down with a jug of water.

Finish it off with a glass of hot, sweet mint tea. (Very good at combatting wind, is mint tea..should you suffer from it)

Casa Zoilo

Somehow Casa Zoilo has managed to elude me for the last 9 years…not many bars in my barrio can say that. Possibly this is because you’d have no reason to walk along Calle de la Huerta del Bayo…unless you lived there..or, like me, you were on a Yelp-inspired wild goose chase and looking for a non-existent portuguese restaurant called Casa Janes on that street.

It certainly puts the old in old-skool. A friendly old couple run it. There’s a massive old fridge…from the 1930s or so i’d say in behind the second part of the bar…and you can buy various things to take away…litres or cans of beer, soda water, litre bottles of wine or sherry.

Very little to say about it. It has no pretensions…there’s a telly in the corner of the back bar, there’s the ubiquitous slot machine in the corner, music doesn’t come from a computer or a disc jockey (who could tell the difference anyway) but a radio sitting behind the bar.

I got a caña for 1,20€ and it came with a small bowl of patatas revolconas…mashed potatoes mixed with paprika and topped with fresh pork scratchings. A work of genius that combines two of humankind’s greatest achievements: a) mashed potato b) pork scratchings.

There’s no comedor so if your wee tapa isn’t going to satisfy you, you’ll have to make do with raciones of cold meats or cheese….or bocadillos filled with..cold meats and/or cheese. The bocadillos ranged from 2,50 to 3,50€.

All in all, a taberna muy castiza

Bodegas lo maximo, lavapiès

Shining example of an old man’s bar taken over by people without enough money to fuck it up. Zinc bar. Half decent music. Armchairs. Disco-ball. As well as your usual beer, wine and (bottled) vermouth…they also do Negroni…which is gin, vermouth and campari served in an old-fashioned glass…and is strong…to say the least. On a campari tip, they also do Spritz…white wine, campari, soda, ice n’a slice…try asking for that in a north nottinghamshire pit village. Having escaped such a mileiu…i was happy to order one

Too much campari in this one…end of bottle…i had to have it topped up with white wine

You can’t see glitterball here..but it’s above these chairs which are on a raised platform. Ideal if you want to be the centre of attention.

Sundays they do paella. Normally there’s tostas and salmorejo.

Achuri

I’ve been coming to this bar for years. I always refer to it as the communist bar…of course that’s not in the least bit pejorative coming from me..quite the reverse. I called it that because you can read diagonal here..which is about the most leftist newspaper we have in Spain…although it’s only printed weekly..and the posters decorating the bar express good left-wing sympathies. Truth be told, it’s a bit perroflauta (crusty/bongobonghi/dancingfool)…but don’t let that put you off…staff are friendly enough..tercios are cold and the food is good and cheap. Free tapas with your drink are a bit on the stingy side though..almost always olives or crisps or the dreaded bowl of peanuts

That’s not the full menu…and they do do a menu del dia during the day.

What i’ve had here:

  • Bocadillo (large bread roll…well..half a baguette) of sausages and mojo picòn (spicy canarian sauce…which i’ve since discovered tends to have almonds in it…but i didn’t die, so i assume theirs doesn’t
  • Bocadillo of bernabè…minced meat, spices and peppers. Bocadillos are 3,50€…so it’s often an option for me if i’ve missed my tea and can’t go to bed after work on a growling stomach
  • Papas arrugadas…a canarian speciality…small potatoes cooked in their skins in very salty water..drained and then they are put back on the heat to get rid of any excess moisture…so the skins wrinkle a bit and are covered with a fine white salt dust…then you put mojo picòn on them..or the more coriandery mojo verde
  • Croquetas of lacòn. Gammon croquettes.
  • My ex, whose name i do not care to remember, had the leeks au gratin and thought they were great.

It’s only 10pm on a friday night..that’s why the eating section is empty. Actually, i think the only people inside the bar at the moment are me, the waiters and a handful of people who are hoping that some people who have tables out on the terraza leave soon…it’s september and still balmy.

Lingua Franca

http://www.rastrobar.com/

Great bar, just off the rastro. Run by Bryn (either a scouser or a woolyback not sure) and Guadalupe (not a scouser, from Seville…(i’ve often thought that there was a decent correlation between Liverpool and Seville…sense of humour and general economic status))

Full english breakfasts for 7,50€…that’s with your orange juice and your tea and coffee. And the sausages….the sausages…well…they’re more than nice.

There’s books there in english..two seperate rooms. If you want to practice your ingles, i’d say it’s a great place to go…and if you don’t..same applies

Maybe one of the newest bars in the barrio. I’m hoping it takes off

Playa Lavapiés

Calle Argumosa is blessed with 30 bars. I thought we’d hit critical mass at 29…but oh no.

La Playa opened up last summer and originally had sand on the floor for that beach feel. Luckily, elf & safety made them get rid of the sand every other week and replace it with fresh sand, and they soon got bored of doing that and elbowed the sand idea. Good. I ‘ate sand.

Not a bad place for a drink…alhambra on tap and in tercios, decent range of wine. No vermouth on tap 😦

In terms of food…dunno…never eaten here. They do toasted sandwiches, nachos, guacamole…that sort of affair.

Spanish coffee is, to put it mildly, a bit wank…luckily La Playa is one of the four or five places in the barrio that have italian Illy coffee

(you might find this blog a bit Lavapiés-centric…but i live here…and it is the best barrio in Madriz)