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 Polonesa

Summer is long gone, so I’ve started feeling a bit ridiculous walking around with my enviable beach body. It’s getting bleedin’ chilly so I thought I needed to work on my draw dropping curves. What better way to do that than get some carbs down me. Now where can I find stodgy food aside from 98% of Spanish food? Something to put some meat on my bones and reduce this infernal cold..I know…northern european food, or better yet, eastern european food. A colleague told me about this Polish restaurant not far from the epicentre of Madrid. It’s in Pacifico/Menendez Palayo…a barrio I have previously mentioned as a hidden gem of a barrio for eating and drinking out…and only a 5 minute walk from Atocha.
I should mention my relationship with Poland. I’m from North Notts and we’ve had a large Polish population there since they came over to help the allies defeat fascism, and while Elizabeth II was practicing her zieg heils in the mirror while wearing some godaweful hat paid for by the tax payer, Poles living in Britain were either flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain or they were mining coal to assist the war effort. I went to a catholic school so we were mainly Paddies or Poles. This is back in the day, before Rupert Murdoch and the Hitler supporting owner of the Daily Heil decided that they needed to demonise Poles while taking a short breath from making up stories about Islam. Not sure why they decided to demonise eastern europeans, but I suppose it’s the same as any target for these scumbags…less of them and easier to identify as they actually have skills, speak more than one language and are actually hard at work…unlike, say, your Nicholas Faräge type who has never done a proper day’s work in his life and has no obvious skill or talent. Also, if you can tell stupid people that they are being attacked by “others” they won’t notice the actual attacks to their way of life by the greedy priviliged natives…such as selling off the post office, the NHS, the land regestry, child protective services for fuck sake (which will be renamed “Child PRODUCTIVE servicing Inc” and a proportion of abused children will be sold off to a paedophile ring of British aristocrats. No…i definitely didn’t mention anyone whose name was Andrew Prince or anything similar)
Anyway, long and short of it. I grew up among British Poles and we lived quite happily together before they became enemies of the state. I went on a short holiday to Krakow when I was in my 20s…this was in the days before cheap air travel so I went by train as it was cheaper.
What I noticed about Poland as the train crossed over from germany into poland was that it seemed like we’d suddenly travelled back 50 years in time. The fields were suddenly being ploughed by oxen rather than tractors and there were far more carts going down the nearby street than 4b4s. The buffet car of the train suddenly had an actual stove and they were selling hot food rather than microwaived food or crisps….and you could afford it! and a beer!
The week or so I spent in Krakow, I generally ate in a mexican restuarant because i could afford to and it wasn’t something i could ever hope to do back in London, and in my head i liked mexican food. Also, they had really good looking waitresses in the Mexican restuarant….i think they were poles but at the time I’m not sure if i’d have noticed any difference between polish and mexican.

Fast forward to the present day and i can get by in Mexican and can order a beer in Polish (well, just by saying “beer” and holding the bottle up and moving it from one side to the other with my fingers and thumb to show that the glass bottle is empty). A colleague at work told me ages ago about this polish restaurant not far away from my gaff and recommended it. Today is a holiday in Madrid Capital (because of a statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus that was found buried in the ground. No, don’t laugh…I don’t turn my nose up at a day off work, so keep your titters to yourself!) so i thought i’d try it out.
It’s called La Polonesa (The Polish) so i don’t suppose there are many polish restaurants in madrid to confuse with it.

http://restaurantelapolonesa.es/restaurante/menu-platos-principales-madrid

I thought I was ordering 2 starters…but the light was poor and I’m still not in the habit of taking my glasses out with me, because i very rarely need them. Turns out I ordered two main courses, which might explain why i was full up after the first and had to have 90% of the second to take away in a doggy bag. Because it was a holiday, there was no menu del dia. Hence my strange order and beer instead of wine. To be fair, i’d have more confidence in polish beer than polish wine….call me a rascist.
For my first main course i had the meat pierogi which are stuffed, steamed pies similar to dimsun but way bigger and fuller and came attop fried onions. They were really nice.

For my second main course, I ordered the bigos….which i remembered avoiding in Poland itself but had a bowl of it on the train between Krakow and Berlin, with a cold beer. And it was delicious. a hearty meat and smoked sausage stew with sauerkraut. 20 or 25 years later and in a (stationary) restaurant on the other side of europe, it was still delicious….but just way way way too much of it. If i hadn’t got it put in a doggy back, i’d still be there trying to get through it

wasn’t cheap as i was dining ala carte like Kanye might. two large main courses and two large (pint) bottles of Polish “okocim” beer…21€…though my lunch to take to work tomorrow is sorted too.

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/

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€

20130305-170846.jpg

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