Madrid / Sala de Despiece: best of Madrid vibes in a cutting room
Calle de Ponzano. A white metallic rolling shutter as an entrance, a long white slaughtering working table as a bar, polycarbonate boxes covering the ceiling, butcher hangers, plastic striped curtains...
A slaughterhouse is the scenario of our final destination in Madrid (for now), as well as our top choice.
The mind behind it is Javier Bonet, Mallorca-born. His career started when he was 17 working at his parents bar in Mallorca (they were both butcher), then followed by experiences in Germany, England, Italy and Japan, from waiter up to the director position.
Sala de Despiece is playful and engaging: guests order from a hand-written menu that indicates name of origin appears, weight of the main ingredient and name of the supplier; in most of the case, cooking/plating is completed in front of them.
Dishes are elaborated tapas using high quality local ingredients and using different cooking techniques and styles.
In an interview to the magazine Elle, Mr. Bonet said that his idea is to offer elements to create a unique food experience, so that people have so much fun that they want to tell around about it.
Well, we would like to tell Mr. Bonet that we really had a lot of fun and want to share our selection of top dishes (we tried a large part of the menu):
1. Chuleton: a slice of dry-aged beef (47 days). The dish is entirely prepared in front of the client. A spoon of truffle cream, a spoon of (grated) tomato seasoned with a clove of garlic, olive oil and salt. Guests are invited to spread tomato and truffle, roll the meat and bite it. Fireworks! Creamy, tender and fresh!
2. Lomo de vaca (method: trufa coreana): sliced meat trapped in a fat ball placed in a stone mortar. All the ingredients for this dish are displayed in front of the guest: marinated egg, shitake mushrooms (and other pickled veggies), kimchi and leaves of lettuce. A blowtorch does all the rest: the fat starts melting making the meat reappear again; the egg is added creating a cream; the kimchi and the other elements are added and mixed together. The result is placed under the nose of the lucky customer who is invited to prepare some wraps using the lettuce. The intensity of flavor and taste cannot be easily described. if it can be of any help, I still had the flavors in my mouth 20 minutes later!
3. Rolex: egg yolk cooked at low temperature served on a dish of foie gras and placed on a thin slice of lard. The lard is then caramelized with brown sugar and wrapped around the egg. A lustful bite!
4. Piquillo bonito: a bonito 'conserva', wrapped in piquillo pepper, onion and topped with a cream of egg slightly burnt with a blowtorch. A strong taste (with a smokiness touch similar to the paprika one) with the use of very traditional Spanish ingredients somehow made 'nobler' by yema.
5. Artichokes: decomposed dish. The dish is presented as 3 separate ingredients: fried artichokes (israeli style), smoked eel and stracciatella cream. Fried artichokes can be sharp and crunchy (and dangerous when eating) but the overall result is a great balance of smoky, sour and sweet flavour.