Being a devoted fan of David Muñoz and his two-star Michelin restaurant, Diverxo, in Madrid (more on Diverxo in a future post) it is needless to say that my expectation were sky high when he told us about the new project he was embarking in. What is this new venture? Street food. The idea comes from the street venders in Asia and the concept of grabbing a fast bite to eat when you are on the go. David wanted to import it to Madrid where ironically it is illegal to sell food directly on the streets. So the question is; where can you sell street food in a city where it is prohibited to do so? The answer is in the Gourmet section of El Corte Inglés Department Store. El Corte Inglés is the Spanish version of Macy’s or Bloomingdales in New York or Harrod’s in London. El Corte Inglés has imported the concept of “corners”, much like those at Harrod’s Food Court. You can pick up oysters at one corner or get a grilled hamburger at another. Mingling in between is Street XO which can’t be missed with its fire engine red counters, blasting music and totally upbeat staff. A word of advice just in case anyone is planning on going wearing nine-inch heels; there are no stools. The chefs make up for the inconvenience though with their lively fanfare.
The menu is short and in a constant state of change and evolution. When you read the menu don’t be set back if you don’t understand half of the things you are ordering. Although the menu is concisely explained you won’t have a full idea of the dish until it is prepared before you but fear not, it will be delicious.
Here are some of my favorites. I will write the names in Spanish so that they can be easily identified on the menu.
Espeto de pollo pekinés y bonito ahumado. Tobiko. Yogurt pasión y 5 especies chinas. These aren’t your ordinary chicken wings. They are slow cooked until the meat is so tender that it simply drops off the bone. Flying fish eggs give each bite a crunchy feel. The flakes you see on top of the dish are smoked tuna. All of this together with the passion fruit yoghurt makes a scrumptious bite.
“Chilli Crab” Pimentón, chipotles y palo cortado. Mantou. If any of you have been to Singapore then you have probably already tried chilli crabs at a local vendor. This plate is served with a Chinese bun which I could probably eat by the dozen.
Cocido “Hong Kong – Madrid” con tamarindo al carbón. Taro y chiles escabechados. When we speak of cocido in Madrid we are usually referring to a typical stew, that is why it is such a surprise to find dim sums. Why the name cocido then? Well, that is because the sauce that these dim sums are served with is a 21 hour reduction of Cocido stew. My husband can’t get enough of these.
Gambas al vapor en “ajillo de pollo”. Mayonesa de ajo negro. Arroz salvaje inflado. These dim sums are stuffed with shrimps and served with a chicken garlic sauce and a black garlic mayo. I never know which dim sums to order so I just order both.
Their wine list is short but carefully selected so you can order a nice sherry to go with you meal. So is this street food? I guess the concept is but behind this corner is a brilliant chef, an excellent team and high tech cuisine. Street XO is definitely worth a visit.
Street XO at El Corte Inglés, Callao Square 2, ninth floor