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restaurante maru madrid

Discover real Korean food at Restaurante Maru

The first and only time I’ve been to real Korean Restaurant it was in 2015 at the EXPO in Milan.

The Korean pavilion had this huge restaurant, with a super clean design and the perfection of the Korean most representative food like Kimchi and Bibimbap.

Kimchi is the top of mind korean food made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbages and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and salted seafood among others.

When I went to EXPO in Milan I was lucky enough to have my dearest friend, who lived in Seoul, with me, so that he could help me chose and explain how to eat in the original Korean way.

restaurante maru madrid

Now that I’ve discovered a real Korean and Japanese restaurant in Madrid I can’t wait to have my friend visiting to experience together this amazing cuisine.

Welcome to Restaurante Maru

The restaurant as you might have read in the title is Restaurante Maru, located in Calle Reina, I mean actually it is almost in Granvia.

Even if a lot of asian oriental restaurants have decided to conform their style to the modern ultra chic and futuristic contemporary style, I saw in Maru more originality with a traditional atmosphere than in all the hype restaurants of the city, that in the end doesn’t let you feel like you are in truly Korean restaurant.

In Maru from the entrance to the seat you can feel that you could even been in Seoul or any other city in Korea, or even in Japan, because you can also taste Japanese food.

Like the famous Korean barbecue that is incorporated as a grill on the table, so that the dishes are actually cooked on the table.

restaurante maru madrid

Maru restaurant has a extremely variegate menu, meat, fish and vegetables. As I could see the dishes are always accompanied by a mix of proteins and vegetables, it’s a very complete meal.

While I was deciding what to try I was already eating the delicious mini starter served with the drinks, kimchi was already in.

I decided to pair the dinner with a Korean beer, because I wanted to make a full immersion in the culture and tradition of Korea, also because between the restaurants guests there were a lot of asian people, so that I could truly feel I was dining in Korea.

The Restaurante Maru’s menu offers lots of option, Bibimbap and the barbecue are of course the star dishes, but there are also interesting tempura, healthy salads and much more.

restaurante maru madrid

Here is my starter, a lettuce salad with salmon, carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts and onion.

A very fresh delicious start. I would love to have a soup but from May to early October it is quite impossible for me to eat a soup, I only did when I lived in London.

Then we went for two different main courses, the prawn tempura and the chicken drumsticks sauteed, which was served with lettuce leaves that was supposed to be used for creating rolls.

There was also an additional spicy sauce that could be mixed with the chicken after fulfilling the lettuce leaf. I thought this was a particular way to try Korean food and I loved it so much, the fresh crispy lettuce perfectly matches with the crunchy dish. Totally suggested.

restaurante maru madrid

As all the pictures we have seen about the uramaki were very inspiring, we also wanted to try them, so we got the salmon and avocado inside, with salmon and eel flambè with tobiko eggs on the top.

The perfect end of this amazing dinner was the mango mousse, if you love mango as I do we will think that this is the greatest mango dessert you’ve ever tried.

restaurante maru madrid

More information: Restaurante Maru, Calle Reina 37.

Meraki, when passion meets food

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How many times your favourite bar or restaurant was so full of people and impossible to get in on a random weekend? What about the bruch? Sunday morning queueing, the Madrid revisitation of Sunday Bloody Sunday by the U2.

Madridiana has the solution for this annoying weekend madness.

The method is: hype cool centric location on Monday or Tuesday, leaving the M30 for peaceful and relaxed locations during the weekend (remember that weekends start on Thursday in Madrid, or better Juernes).

meraki madrid

Meraki is a great example of the perfect weekend location.

Lore and Cris, the owners of Meraki restaurant decided to open their first venture in Carabanchel instead of a more centric barrio.

It’s a challenge but most of all it’s an innovative idea and proposal, and when I see innovation I see future and I have to support it.

The name, Meraki, is the first step into this wonderful world, because Meraki comes from the modern Greek and means “do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention”, exactly what Lore and Cris transmitted me.

Even if there is a lot of green and blue, cold colours, Meraki it’s really a warm restaurant welcoming clients with a unique atmosphere, also thanks to history of how it was built and which materials have been used like the woods that  comes from the Iglesia de Fuente el Saz del Jarama.

At this point you might have already reserved a table in Meraki for the weekend and I haven’t talked about the food and the barra (which will be explained by Enzo Lauretta, the drinks expert).

And to be totally sincere I haven’t mentioned the first two part of the atmosphere that I guess are the most appreciated, the green walls and the beautiful murals in the terrace.

So let’s start with the core point of a this gastro restaurant: the menu.

meraki madrid

This fantastic ensaladilla rusa is the first bite of Meraki cuisine, as a welcoming tapas.

The starter best seller is the tartar, in the veggie, fishy or classic meat version, it’s really special, and the famous guakamola, which is a sort of avocado tartar, the paradise of avocado lovers.

meraki madridmeraki madrid

Look at the mango and the tomatoes in the veggie version, no filter picture of course, with my Nikon, it was delicious, I could have two more, even if the portions are huge, and dine with it, as starter, main course and dessert.

Choosing the main courses was not an easy task, the burger with beer bread sounds incredibly tasty, the tuna tataki perfectly matches with the tomatoes tartar, tortilla and croquetas for the classic spanish food with a Meraki touch.

In the end as for the guakamola we went for the funny naming, with the Maki taco as a mix of japanese uramaki and mexican taco, and a classic dish de toda la vida, the carrillera de ternera with patatas purea.

meraki madrid

Like a happy kids I was surprised to find my favourite water, San Pellegrino, the best sparkling water in the world.

Not to mention the tablas of quesos and jamon, cecina de Leon, with many starters and main courses made with cheese, Italian with the Burratina and French with the queso Camembert.

So many different cultures in one menu, totally in harmony between each other as a fusion concept should be considering that our tastes are changing every time we travel to a new destination and its culinary tradition and culture.

Creativity is the fil rouge of Meraki, it’s in every mesa, in every sofa, in every dish, that’s why this is not an ordinary restaurant.

Enzo’s thoughts

meraki madrid

As it was for the San Pellegrino water, the same accurate selection for the coffee with Illy and for a tremendous complete selection of Vermouth, with the Martini Italian version called Riserva Speciale Rubino, Cinzano 1757, then Casa Mariol, the classic Zecchini and much more.

Last but not least we also had what we call a “barra experience” with the bartender Joaquin Poyatos that we already had the chance to meet in occasion of the regional final of the bartending competition Made with Love, in collaboration with the Campari Academy, that put together the best bartenders of Madrid.

Joaquin prepared for us a special cocktail that it will be included in the new menu of the restaurant than we were able to try and preview.

meraki madrid

A cocktail made with Spinach, called Popeye, paired with a spinach biscuit that perfectly matches with the cocktail.

His idea of the contamination between the cuisine and the barra, as a liquid exchange of knowledge really fascinated me, and the same it was during the Made in Love event when his creations were aromatized with olives, like if the tapa was inside the cocktail.

Every thursday and saturday there is always live music in Meraki so that know you don’t have any excuse to not trying this unique place.

Wishing all the best to Lore and Cris, we can’t wait to be back to Meraki, convinced that their passion and dedication will be the key for the success and growth of this restaurant, which might be only the first of an amazing series of locals.

More information here: Meraki.

Donde Marian

Donde Marian honest food

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There are a lot of things that can occur during a dinner. The focus is always on what you eat, the taste, the smell of it, and in some cases it can also involve the touch feeling when the food should be eaten with the hands.

Well, in Donde Marian I also listened a lot, probably the most used taste was definitely hearing, and it rarely happen to enjoy a meal at restaurant while learning a lot of interesting thing about the quality and selected ingredients that you can find on the menu.

Even if the historic founder Marian de la Peña retired in 2016, the service and the key dishes are at the same level as they have been for more than two decades.

Donde Marian

Marian left her restaurant to her niece, Ana Hernández and her husband Alfonso Luca de Tena. Ana as a successful architect took care of the restoration of the different areas of the restaurant with a classy restyling of powder blue tones and modern lighting.

What didn’t change is the core and most important part of restaurant: the team. Same chef, same waiter and waitress. The star dishes of Donde Marian like the seasonal vegetables, artichokes and white Navarra asparagus are still the same, as the chuleton, a huge ribeye grilled in the best way.

In the end, Donde Marian continues to take good care of his clients.

And this is probably why in Donde Marian in two decades became so popular and has so many trusted clients, season after season.

Like I did last week, all the clients have learned when they’ll find asparagus and when artichokes because the strength of this place is that almost military selection of only the most valuable products, with a special reference to the vegetables.

I’ve learned a lot about how the white Navarra asparagus is so white and how taught is life of an artichokes collector. As my father worked as greengrocer and I never had the chance to hear from him how passionate he was about his job, I found really interesting and inspiring to hear the passion that Alfonso’s suppliers, La Trailla, put into their daily job, proud the have the best white Navarra asparagus of Spain. Which by the way as a really tiny percentage of worldwide production because most of the white asparagus in commerce are from China, like the 95%.

la trailla

What also impressed about Alfonso is that he defined the Donde Marian kitchen as a “cocina honesta”, because they want to be honest, the chef have always, and will always, cook only the seasonal products, presenting to clients only the best real food when it has to be eaten. The menu has the same high requested meat, vegetables and fish typical Spanish food for the trusted clients, but now as also some new entries like Italian Burrata as starter or two different tartar, one with beef solomillo and one with salmon, both perfectly hand-cutted.

Everything is homemade in Donde Marian, from the starters to the desserts, and the wine selection is really impressive.

They also have a “menu jovenes” at 28€ when the medium price for a dinner is usually around 40€, and I guess if you see the passion that Alfonso and his historic team put into Donde Marian you’ll understand that all the best products research they do, and their 100% honest food principle is very rare and totally worth the bill.

In Donde Marian you can enjoy a star dinner, or lunch in a beautiful restaurant or in its amazing quite terrace and try a classic of Madrid since two decades.

More Information: Donde Marian.

tuk tuk asian street food

Tuk Tuk asian street food for everyone

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Monday night, Calle de Alcalà 167. Welcome to the newest Tuk Tuk asian street food restaurant, or even better south east asian street food restaurant.

Not my first Tuk Tuk comida, but definitely the first relaxed one.

tuk tuk asian street food

I’ve been previously in Calle Barquillo and ordered from Deliveroo several times, but I’ve never heard the history of the restaurants (more than one, and even more than the two mentioned), and had the chance to try so many different dishes sharing the bowls like if they were tapas, between spicy lovers and spicy kind of haters like me.

The first thing to take into consideration when ordering at Tuk Tuk restaurant is the spicy level of food that you can handle.

I am definitely not an harder spicy taster, but I am really into ginger, curry and chilly too, so I can dine with all the comidas with one and two peppers in Tuk Tuk without any problems, but this is a very personal choice.

I can state that if you are a spicy lover you’ll be challenged in Tuk Tuk, there will be a lot of great food for you, from the entrantes to the desserts, and the same story for the sweet flavour lovers, like me, you will desire the chili mango bowl as the ultimate favourite asian food.

Let’s start from the begin.

Why Tuk Tuk and why southeast asian street food?

The founder of Tuk Tuk restaurants is Ricardo Alexander, a british bollywood actor and entrepreneur that has lived a lot of years between the tuk tuk streets of Asia. Exploring different countries and food tradition of south east Asia he was able to live the spicy world of asian food cuisine. His travels and researches brought him to start experimenting with all the most common ingredients and recipes he had tasted around Bangkok, India, Philippines, and Vietnam.

If you have never been to Asia you can start understanding the real complexity of a pad thai or the hokkien, which might be less know but is to me a masterpiece of the Tuk Tuk menu.

I guess Ricardo should be both proud of teaching and letting newbies about the south east asian street food traditions and as well of the people that have already visited one of those countries. They can really appreciate all the details in the restaurant design and the in the food menu felling the same atmosphere they have already lived, every sip of Tom Ka Gai soup and every bite of the Ayam Sambal brochetas.

I’ve to admit that I’ve really appreciated both the design of the menu divided mainly into rice, soup, noodles, curry, and the very useful explanation of the Tuk Tuk master.

To be honest the sexy bao in Tuk Tuk asian street food is the only one I’ve really appreciated so far in Madrid, because of the softness of the dough and for the shape too. It is much easier to eat when the toppings are vertical and not horizontal. The taste is really great, soft and crispy with the these delicious red onion in escabeche.

And mint, lots mint and herbals, the sexy bao like many other dishes has a good portion of mint leaf on the top of it. I am really into mint and usually you find it cooked, but this is really fresh and gives a twist to the strong pork taste of the bao and same thing for the main courses.

tuk tuk asian street food

Not sure if a spicy beginner like me can handle a whole portion of Malay Curry Laksa but have for sure need to try it, because this is really a special dish, a real asian gem brought in Madrid straight from the asian markets. Curry and coconut soup with prawns, chicken, tofu, eggs and noodles, and it’s so beautiful, look at this strong yellow colour, impressive.

tuk tuk asian street food

My suggestion? Find 4-5 mates with different tastes in terms of spicy addiction and share with them one rice, one soup, at least a noodle meal and for sure half bao and some brochetas. You’ll end up with a more complete south asian street food experience as if the bowls were tapas, and be back to Tuk Tuk sharing or ordering your favourite, which in my case will be really hard between the chili mango chicken and the hokkien, really really hard.

Make sure also to find a sharing desserts mate because the match of white chocolate and ginger of the lemon cheesecake is massive, I mean, white chocolate and ginger, could you ask for more?

Not to mention the superb Dorayaki with banana ice cream and spicy chocolate sauce, unmissable.

You can find the full menu here.

The Tuk Tuk restaurants are actually 5 (+ street food festivals), and these are the locations:

Tuk Tuk C/ Cardenal Cisneros 6 (Metro: Bilbao)

Tuk Tuk C/ Barquillo 26 (Metro: Chueca)

Tuk Tuk Av. General Perón 16 (Metro: Santiago Bernabeu)

Tuk Tuk C/ Alcalá 167 (Metro: Goya)

Tuk Tuk Mercado Vallehermoso C/Vallehermoso 36 (Metro: Quevedo)