I don’t eat meat, but one of my life rules is: never go to a Vegetarian restaurant.
I’ve been jaded by too many poorly thought-out ventures where the food is created from fear of meat rather than love of veg. Vegan and vegetarian cuisine has existed all over the world for millennia, so where did the culinary black hole come from and why has it left us in such a veg-hating dark age feeling hungry and dehydrated?
Last week, a friend of mine recommended veggie-friendly Zoco Comidero and I might just have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
Rarely do you come across a restaurant with this much respect for food. The concept: flexitarian – a primarily vegetarian diet which occasionally includes meat or fish. In other words, there’s something for everyone.
No longer does the vegetarian friend have to eat a racion de patatas bravas for dinner, or the carnivorous friend have to suffer through a fish-less fillet or a tofurkey burger (a what?).
At Zoco Comidero, the menu is hugely varied and every dish is put together professionally. Everything on your plate hit the kitchen worktop raw and intact and has been prepared freshly with no external influences.
We kicked off Tuesday evening with a kale and kiwi smoothie, an arepa stuffed with an almond-based vegan cheese and chlorella pesto (a delicious black seaweed pesto).
Feeling healthy yet? We shared two tostas: one with goat’s cheese and a juicy baked tomato and the other with a generous portion of beetroot-marinated raw salmon and homemade mustard. For mains we had a risotto made with kamut (an ancient large wheat grain), and prawn chop suey.
This was all underlined with a trio of deserts: an intense gooey dark chocolate brownie (the secret ingredient: avocado), quinoa ‘cheesecake’ and a face-twisting lemon curd.
By now the word “healthy” is in the background. Exotic flavours, textures and presentation of the food resonates more than anything else. I love Marbell’s zen and her way of transmitting it to us urban wildlife through edible flowers and doses of colour.
Zoco Comidero is just off the beaten track but in the real heart of Madrid’s old town. The restaurant has an elegant interior with low lighting, good music and a bonus view of the palace. There’s also a fun downstairs lounge which gets going on weekends. Every Saturday and Sunday, Marbell tries to organise a chilled bit of live music from 10:30 pm onwards so stick around after dinner for good DJs and Venezuelan bands.
- Address: Calle Moreria 11
- Metro: La Latina