10 April 2015
My first full day in Madrid was somewhat productive, despite still not walking well thanks to that idiot on the Iberia flight. I had a nice lunch (which I will chronicle in a different post) and was looking forward to a fine dinner at one of Madrid’s best-known restaurants, Viridiana.
From Chef Abraham García’s kitchen have emerged many of Madrid and Spain’s top chefs, including the enfant terrible of Madrid’s food scene David Muñoz (chef of 3-Michelin DiverXO — which, btw, has an unfair ticketing system that refuses to book single diners…). I was actually excited to check this place out, to see from where all this talent sprung.
I really hate this very late eating time in Spain, but I managed — getting there at it opened. I was seated in the downstairs dining area and relaxed as I watched the place slowly fill up this Friday evening. And just my luck, another table of American pensioners with a lot of opinions were placed next to me. Why me?!
As I endured their nauseating conversation I ordered my rather unorthodox dinner and tried to chill out with some wine. Eventually they brought out the first amuse bouche, the gazpacho.
This is one of Chef García’s specialties, this version with strawberries and anchovies. Fabulous, one of the very best gazpachos I’ve ever had, and really sells the concept of this soup. I was one of the very few people not cold in Madrid this evening, so it worked great.
A second amuse of carpaccio was on the boring side. Oh well, I was looking forward to my dishes anyway, as I want to eat a lot since I was hungry. Had more wine as there was almost no signal downstairs, forcing me to listen to the idiots talk about their inane lives… Then my salvation…
Yes, caracoles — my favourites. I love these things. This was a fantastic large portion, the snails cooked perfectly. I enjoyed each one as if it was the last, but did not waste too much bread on this sauce — as good as it was. That will be explained later. This was the voluminous part of the dinner, after all… Excellent, and I got everyone’s attention in the dining room with this dish.
I enjoyed more wine as the snails ran out, and ate the final one with some sadness. Fantastic stuff. I chilled out with more wine getting ready for my second dish, for which I saved a lot of bread…
Yep, bone marrow. These babies were fabulously rich, roasted perfectly. I rarely eat this much marrow because bread has a habit of filling me up too much, but this was the meal!
Fantastic! Perhaps not the most creative of orders, but the stomach won today.
Throughout the meal García came out to greet guests, and every time he walked past me he nodded with understanding watching me eat, and I returned the greeting with appreciation (in my broken Castillian). By the third time he actually patted me on the shoulder as he walked by.
I relaxed and finished my bottle of house white, still revelling in the rich flavours of the 2 dishes. As I relaxed, I also did the staff a big favour — I helped them with some translations of today’s specials that they had trouble explaining in English. I guess I earned my daily bread.
I ordered a dessert to soothe my over-stimulated stomach and it was a nice, natural one. It was some gelato and an assortment of exotic fruits. Excellent end to this meal.
I headed out of Viridiana pretty happy, having enjoyed some excellent natural flavours with just enough touch by García. Finally, a fabulous dinner in Madrid. Was my luck changing? Let’s hope so…
Calle de Juan de Mena 14