Post by Lauren
One of the things we decided to do in Madrid was a fancy-schmancy multiple course dinner. Not like the kind where you are stuffed to the gills, but more like the Top Chef version where the presentation is so beautiful that you question when and where they ever serve that stuff in real life. And it was totally intriguing to Gabe & my curiousity, as well as Andreas was game to the new culinary experience.
Kudos to Isabella for doing the research and landing us an impossible table at Diverxo.
We sat down and had a piece of art as a centerpiece with Spanish words for “what we would experience”….. quite a conversation starter.
They don’t publish the menu at all, before or even upon arrival at the restaurant. You only get the selection of the seven, nine or eleven courses which are customized each evening and sometimes to each table. Our five-some decided upon the middle selection — nine courses. And, they are listed below, as dictated to Ferdinand’s blackberry at the end of the evening because photography wasn’t allowed. Please forgive our descriptions as we couldn’t remember the proper names. I am sure the chef would be offended if he knew we called elements of his creation “dipping sauce” and “breadcrumbs”.
Edamame served with Paraguayan pepper dipping sauce
Tea with flowers and stuff
Tiger mussel* with mousse and bread crumbs
Soup – baby eel** and baby fish in broth, fried eel skin
Smoked tuna belly with egg yolk wonton
Chicken stock wonton on a wheat disk with langoustine and mushroom in a broth
Mushroom “bun” wrapped in milk skin on tomato pad, with pulled jamon jerky
Variation of Peking duck: crispy pork skin with roe and black sesame brioche, then pork meatball lettuce wrap
Oxtail short-rib dumpling with foam & exotic mushrooms
Violet mousse with foam
Green tea chocolate mousse with passion fruit gel and chocolate shavings
Wine: Familia Martinez Bujanda Rioja
*Note, the tiger mussel was seafood. Not the muscle of a tiger which was our first thought.
**When they served the soup dish, they mentioned that it contained a special sea noodle that was made “in house”. We were told after that they wait to tell us the noodles are actually baby eels which are an extremely rare delicacy, as it turns some people off. They said some restaurants serve them living, swimming in the soup. We are glad they weren’t that kind of restaurant that served living baby eels. I am not sure I could have continued on eating the remaining courses after that out of fear.
The service was amazing…if you took a sip of wine or water, immediately the waiter or waitress quickly poured a replacement sip. I almost felt guilty for sipping, they were so attentive. They took care to explain each dish, in English, as it was brought out. The highlight was they also instructed us the best way to eat it….what to start with on the dish, how to pick it up, whether to eat it with one bite or two, etc. We all agreed on our gratitude for this explanation.
I have long been a fan of attending museums and galleries for appreciating fine works of art. The same goes for concerts and shows to witness the talents of musicians. This was definitely the closest feeling I have had to experiencing culinary arts. It was quite a way to behold the creativity of food selection, preparation & presentation and will not forget eating baby eels for quite some time.