So I have a confession to make. I hardly ever read. Whilst this might sound like a somewhat dramatic claim, what I actually mean is, I hardly ever read books (unless you count what I devour annually whilst on a sun lounger and manage to bulldoze through in a day). I read the news, I read blogs and I read glossies, but it’s rare that I sit down and take the time to turn actual pages – this is made all the more shameful by my day job being the lead of English in a primary school. Somehow life gets in the way (or perhaps more accurately, Netflix does) and books wallow neglected on my shelves.
However, this summer I read a book called You are a Badass. Now I loath to admit that I read the occasional ‘self help’ book, but this one resonated with me in a way that’s not a particularly regular occurrence. It’s based on the notion that everyone is capable of ‘living our best life’. The premise is that we shouldn’t just tread water because we’re too scared to dive into the unknown; it’s about unapologetically jumping in headfirst and being brave.
At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth these ramblings link to a restaurant recommendation but bear with me. Someone who most definitely took the stabilizers off and took a leap of faith is Micky. The owner and creative clout behind Nudista; the restaurant that he affectionately calls his ‘fifth child’ – he’s a father of four. Having spent twenty years grafting away as a TV producer, he literally quit his day job to follow his dream – and from where I was sitting last Friday night, his dream has literally become a reality.
Nudista is the brainchild of Micky and the result of his lifelong love affair with gastronomy. The concept behind the restaurant is disarmingly simple but achingly cool. Nothing is cooked. There’s no kitchen. Everything is fresh. The food is either served from a jar or a tin without even a hint of a preservative or additive in sight. As the clean eating movement shows no signs of abating, Micky is striking while the iron is hot. The food is in a word – delicious, largely because you know exactly where your food is coming from (Navarra in most cases) and it’s simply seasoned with olive oil and salt.
I ate leeks that literally melted in the mouth like butter (and as a Welsh girl, the bar for decent leeks is set pretty high but these were epic). Next I sampled some marvellous mackerel (I’m not one to shy away from some alliteration) and some zingy lentils that were lip smacking good. Served in tandem were two wonderful wines that were personally selected by Micky and partnered the food to perfection. What added further appeal to a place where I couldn’t have felt more relaxed, was that dessert was created by a friend of Micky’s – a moreish cheesecake served in a dinky little sardine can. I’m a sucker for attention to detail and this had me reaching for my iPhone to pap.
Nudista almost felt like going round to a friend’s house for dinner, albeit a friend’s house with excellent taste and an eagle eye for interiors. We stayed until the early hours, such was the relaxed ambience and given its proximity to the always buzzing Malasaña is quite the rare find. In a city where restaurants are often becoming carbon copies of each other (exposed brick, aperol spritz and steak tartare – you know the ones). Nudista is refreshing for its lack of pretension and originality. Twenty somethings sat beside the neighbourhood abuelas, proving that Micky and his team have spotted a niche where there’s something for everyone.
And the best bit, everything you’ve eaten is available to buy. I know what my fam will be getting for Christmas and I know what will be adorning my kitchen shelves. Despite the name, clothes are required but the stripped back charm of Nudista will keep you wanting to go back for more. Friends of mine know that when I like something, I go all in. I’m often zealous in terms of gushing about things/places/people but in the case of Nudista, it’s more than warranted. I can’t recommend the place highly enough, so to make sure that I’m not just all talk – you should take action.
- Telephone: +34 918.104.22.168
- Address: Calle Luchana, 23, Madrid.