Zalacaín – turns 40

To think of Zalacaín is to look back at Madrid’s culinary history. This year this landmark restaurant celebrates its 40th anniversary. When you stop to think about it, forty years is a long life span for a restaurant and Zalacaín has a very rich history of prominent personalities from different metiers who have dined at their table, from Dali and Liz Taylor to Placido Domingo, just to name a few. Imagine all the different conversations that have unravelled among china and wine. I would have loved to sit in on a few. It’s not only about the illustrious clients but also about Zalacaín´s contribution to Spanish cuisine because we must keep in mind that Zalacaín was the first Spanish restaurant to receive the highly acclaimed three Michelin stars back in 1987. They set not only a high culinary standard but also one for impeccable service which still stands today although sadly they have lost two stars along the way. It has not been until this year, 2013 when David Muñoz has brought the 3 Michelin star recognition back to Madrid for his restaurant DiverXO but that of course is another story.

The last time I was at Zalacaín I paid with the Spanish peseta so as you can imagine a lot has changed since then but Zalacaín still maintains that old world charm of a restaurant which takes pride in doing things right. The centerpieces commemorating autumn are set in silver bowl, the sommelier still has a cup hanging from his neck adorning his impeccable attire and the china and silver cutlery would make the most demanding of grandmothers proud. The service is elegant and traditional but never overbearing and that balance is difficult to come across.

To celebrate their 40th, Chef Juan Antonio Medina Gálvez has elaborated a well-structured menu commemorating their classic dishes where you can clearly perceive those savory slow-cooked broths which are not only a delight to taste but also to smell.

The first plate was wild mushroom with perigourdine sauce this was served in the tea cups from the original tableware dating back to 1982 which were found in the archives. I thought this to be nostalgically charming.

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A truffled egg yolk over black pudding ‘soil’ with vegetables and parmigiano cream. This felt like true comfort food on our cold rainy night so it was an absolute pleasure to sink our spoons in.

before cream

before cream

after cream

after cream

Sea Bass prepared with two wines and crisp fried leeks.

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Our friend swapped the sea bass for duck thigh cooked with Oporto which was delicious.

Pig’s trotters served with mushrooms, lamb and topped off with old style mustard

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Capuchin franciscans cake. I found the dessert to be very plain and I didn’t care for it.

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The tuile on the other hand was delicious

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This menu is organized in collaboration with Chivite so the dinner is paired with their wines. It is available until the end of the year 2013 at 90 euros per person. Zalacaín isn’t a trendy restaurant but a timeless classic and as chef Jose Antonio Medina mentions in his Twitter account it is fun tradition, #traditiondivertida.

Restaurante Zalacain

C/ Álvarez de Baena, 4

+34 91 561 48 40  

http://www.restaurantezalacain.com

 

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