Martinez de la Rosa 8
Wonderfully small and cosy, only 7 or 8 tables. Reservations are most likely a must, thought I called only a few hours early and could nab an early table. Chef Paul Treacy cooks what he wants to cook and offers a choice between 2 menus, the traditional and surprise menu, both of which consist of several reasonably-sized courses. (Naturally he will substitute for allergies.) Therefore complete attention to detail and preparation. I did enjoy the traditional menu more. In any case, eating like this, “flights of food”, fits me well and is my favorite style of dining Food is at its freshest, innovative and simply tasty, service is impeccable and friendly. Wine pairing is very good, though your wine preferences can certainly be discussed. Jose, the maître d’, certainly accommodated me…I sampled 3 reds before I was happy…even though all were great! I just could not get me to agree with myself on taste. I can’t drink too much and had to make do with 2 types of wine for all courses.
Every detail was a taste experience, from the unique green olive croquettes that came out first as a snack, the delicious hot, rustic breads of walnut and multi-grain, served with a special spice mixture and 2 oils: a house-made herb oil with 5 spices: red pepper, black pepper, sea salt and 2 more I still have not identified, and an intensely aromatic olive oil from Caceres.
I can’t even say which course was my favorite: maybe it was the sauteed foie with mushrooms and celery cream. Or the octopus accented with a green seaweed, sesame and Bonzouri sauce, a sauce of lemon, lime, bonito flakes and soy sauce. Come to think of it, that venison was out of this world, served with roast pumpkin, hazelnuts and truffle, and so was the seared tuna. Oh! And the salmon tartare with roast fig salad…
One of the desserts was a watermelon granita with coconut foam, served with an astonishing little flower from Sichuan, resembling that of a chamomile blossom. One is to hold the petals of this flower on their lips for 10 seconds, and then hold it on the tongue for some seconds, and then chew it. The resulting experience are tastes of metal, sweet, citrus, and electricity. It left parts of the mouth tingly and slightly numb. But each taste of the granita and foam came even more alive after that, like an intensity knob had been turned!
There were two more desserts, a small chocolate torte with melted chocolate in the middle, and after that petit-fours.
My only problem was that the dining area was cold…could be due to the fact the weather at this time was the coldest in 10 years.
Good to be back here again!