I arrived to Madrid with no real plan, or exact purpose, mostly as a stop-over to Berlin. Two of my dear friends live there, Daphne and Paula. Paula is Spanish (and half-Portuguese) and Daphne is Greek but has become a local in Madrid lately and she is a true foodie. We have been having all these amazing food experiences with Daphne since we were in college. I remember going with her to London to all these amazing restaurants. So, hands down she is the one to trust when we talk about food.
Last time I was in Madrid was 5-6 years ago. Back then I had a life changing experience in Mercado San Miguel but I ll talk about this is a different post. On Sunday we woke up late so skipped breakfast and Daphne planned to go to Sala de Despiece for lunch. I didn’t ask much. She said I would love it. I trust her. No questions needed. We got there at 14.30, apparently we wanted to be there before the 15.00 o clock sitting slot. It was raining and we had to queue for about 20-30 minutes, but every minute was so worth it. From the windows you could see inside the fast pace, preparations, people standing and eating and all this hype which was very exciting. I still couldn’t understand the style of food but I could see a large counter-top crossing the whole space acting as a quartering slab, preparation area, bar and dining table.
As stated on their website: “Our bar counter pays tribute to the traditional tapa way of serving food in Chamberí neighborhood. It is an extension of our open kitchen, where the menu’s ingredients are barely transformed to keep up with the spirit of this philosophy. “Products first and last” is the key principle of the restaurant’s co–owner and creator of the concept, Javier Bonet, who is obsessed with product quality, the creation of the ideal atmosphere to serve it, and the human value of team work.”
The space was designed by OHLAB / oliver hernaiz architecture lab creating a casual and standing up space for a unique experience based on the concept of the restaurant.
“The simple and efficient palette of materials fits with the tight budget of the project: pvc flooring with exposed drains allow for hose down cleaning, white tiling for easy washing, bar and furniture structure made in stainless steel, central table in white polyethylene and, lastly, ceiling and walls’ higher areas are cladded with the same polystyrene boxes used for fresh fish transportation providing good acoustics in the room.”
Raw materials are key to Sala de Despiece and the way they transform. Almost everything is prepared in front of you as you can see from the pictures and videos. Some of the preparations are a la plancha (grilled on a metal top), tartar, torched, peeled, emulsion or fried. We had 9 plates the 3 of us and we all got full and happy. The selection was a mix of meat, fish and vegetable dishes and the combination of all was very representative of the different ingredients, preparations and Umami experiences Sala de Despiece has to offer. Kudos to Daphne once more.
We had the TOMATO (Origin: Navara) with brine, fried basil and olive oil (11,00 euro), the OKRA ‘AFRIKAN’ (Origin: Catilla La Mancha) with coconut, dried prawns and Piripiri (7,50 euros), BOLETUS (Origins: Navarra) with yolk, isot and cacao (10,50 euros), the RED TUNA ‘SIRLOIN’ (Origin: Murcia) with Teriyaki, Yuzu and pickled onions (21,00 euros), the ROLEX (Origin: Segovia) with Foie gras, wine gel, truffle and bacon (6,50 euros per piece), the BURRATA VERDE (Origin: Italy) with Datterini tomatoes, greens, pine nuts and flat bread (15,00 euros), the KOREAN TRUFFLE (Origin: Spain) with egg yolk, pickles and Korean seasoning (14,00 euros), the CHULETON (Origin: Spain) with tomato, Tartufata and olive oil (9,00 euros) and finally the BLUE LOBSTER ‘CLAMP’ (Origin: FAO27) with Zabayon, Bisque, sweet pea (14,00 euros).
ABOVE: Preparation of the 'CHULETON' , thinly sliced beef with truffle, tomato and sea salt.
BELLOW: ROLEX, foie gras, truffle, wine gel, bacon and dehydrated egg yolk. And BURRATA VERDE, which was whipped with infused olive oil and served with Datterini tomatoes and pine-nuts on flatbread.
As expected everything we had was exquisite. The whole experience, the people, music, service but mostly the food. It is one of these experiences that will stay in your mind for a long time. A place I will always recommend and reminisce. For the things we ate and a bottle of white wine and bottle of water we payed 45 euros each which is very fair I think. I did expect the bill to be much more if I compare it with other similar restaurants in other European cities. It is worth visiting in a group of 3 or 4 people cause this way you can try more dishes- but not more cause then it will be difficult to find a seat for everyone. Cannot wait to be back to Madrid in February to go back to this gem of a place!
The videos underneath show the process of the KOREAN TRUFFLE dish which after prepared you served in a lettuce leave with a peanut and rolled them all together.