Just came back from my first trip to Spain. My first stop was Madrid. Besides the usual tapas hopping and visiting Mercado San Miguel and Mercado San Anton, there were two places where I actually sat down to eat.
El Club Allard: My first fine dining experience in Spain. I came in about 15 minutes early for my 9:00 dinner reservation and found the place closed. Fortunately, the place is close to the Temple of Debod so I was able to wander around the park before I returned.
Upon entering, I was greeted with a delicious waft of freshly baked breads. In fact, I was seated right beside their bread cart, which offered various selections of bread that you can choose from. The first meal of the day was the piece of paper that has their menu options. I was also given a sabayon like sauce that they said was mayonaise. You can choose to eat or not eat the paper. I ate it and would have preferred not to, even with the sauce, it still tasted like a communion wafer. That was probably the lowest point of my dinner and it got tremendously better after that. Highlights of my night were:
Scones and butter: This was the only restaurant I went to that actually served butter. The butter was actually green in color and looked like algae, probably in keeping with their aquatic theme
Soft shell txangurro: really loved this dish. It's soft shell crab that was fried and served with the same sabayon as my rice paper/communion wafer menu. This time around though, the sauce worked well with the crab and was very enjoyable.
Mini Babybell of Camembert truffle: This one looked like an apple with a pretzel stick. Inside the apple was the camembert infused with truffle. Delicious! Interestingly enough, this was served in the middle of the menu. I have been trained to think that cheese courses ought to be served after the meats and right before dessert. Guess I was wrong.
Game truffle with foie and mushrooms: Pate(I think it was pigeon) that's shaped like a truffle with foie gras. The foie looked like a landscape. One of my favorite and most memorable dishes of the night.
Sea bass with Korean Marinade: mild tasting and tender. Surprised it wasn't salty unlike most Asian foods.
Orange and citrus shot: Seriously looked like a dragonfruit shaped like a shot glass. The shot glass had the reddish color of the flesh of the dragon fruit and the orange cream(???) was white in color. All it needed were specks of black and I would seriously think it was a dragon fruit! Thankfully, it tasted more like an orange sorbet.
The fishbowl: white chocolate landscape with marshmallows that looked like fish in a fishbowl. I'm not a big fan of white chocolate but this worked well with my palate.
Poche egg: This dish looks like a brown egg that you can crack open. The shell is made of white chocolate, the egg white is flan I believe, and the yolk is mango sorbet. If you let the sorbet melt, it would look like a runny egg.
Bazaar Restaurant: This is one of the restaurants that's open for lunch and dinner on a Sunday! I found this restaurant while walking around the Chueca district. I was hoping to get into El Cisne Azul as I am a lover of all things mushrooms but they were not open. Bazaar was almost full every time I passed by it. I had the fish with rice which was OK but their chocolate dessert was heavenly. I think it's called Chocolatissimo or something similar to that. When I got my bill, I can see why this place is popular with the locals. My dinner was 17 euros for everything I had. On top of it all, the service was friendly and the servers can speak in English if needed.