I went loco for Le Coco.


Picture the scene. Lashing rain. Lightning illuminating the dirty teabag coloured sky. Rumblings of thunder so fierce that part of my apartment window collapsed (true story, that’s not just for dramatic effect). Oh and have I mentioned that this is July in Madrid, not November in Blighty? So you can only imagine my level of ganas when it came to venturing out into a monsoon on a bleak and downright bloody freezing Thursday evening.

26_LeCoco

The reason for rallying was that my Mum was in town and I didn’t fancy having to try (and realistically fail) to produce dinner from the slim pickings in my fridge. So off we waded to Le Coco; a short stroll over to the neighbouring barrio of Chueca with our brollies in tow. From the outside Le Coco is dinky and unassuming, well, that’s what I could make out from my rain soaked fringe at least. But upon entering, not only was it a haven of dryness, it was a cosy one at that.

12_LeCoco

Le Coco by Naked Madrid

As soon as we were seated (which was immediate) we were handed a drinks menu. We happily plumped for pisco sours, which brightened both of our moods – shame the same couldn’t be said for the colour of clouds that loomed ominously. Anyways, enough of my weather related whining, let’s get cracking on the food because boy we did we eat our bodyweight. In our defence, as it felt like winter outside we definitely packed in enough dishes to help us with insulation.

141_Sangria

So first there were prawn dumplings, plump, juicy and incredibly moor-ish. I ate 6 without breaking a sweat – although sweat I did, when I dragged myself to a 9am pilates class the following day to work them off. Next came tempura langoustine that rendered me speechless. Friends will confirm that this only usually happens when I’m asleep, so for a dish of something shrimpy to shut me up, well, we’re talking about the unfathomable here. They were amazing. Genuinely. Le Coco is worth a visit for this reason alone.

149_Ravioli de bogavante y cangrejo - Le Coco

Now some peeps might have been full after those couple of helpings, not us. Remember the rain, well it had started up again by this point, which gave us the perfect excuse to plump for tacos, a burrata the size of my fist, before ending with the crème de la creme of pasta dishes – and I’ve been to Puglia, I think I know my stuff. It heaved with lobster, crab and cream. I don’t know what they did with these three ingredients but it was downright orgasmic. Hell, if that dish were a man, maybe I’d date it – frankly it was infinitely more delicious than the bulk of Tinder’s offerings. I jest, but really, for a place that looked on first glance similar in style to many, many places in the area, the food was anything but predictable.

29_LeCoco

We wrapped the evening up with a couple of celebratory cavas for making it out of the house to battle the elements. And I left having forgotten that my red suede shoes (or my Dorothy/Wizard of Oz shoes as I liked to affectionately refer to them) are basically now akin to soggy road kill. Sometimes things don’t look that pretty from the outside, Le Coco goes to prove that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

18_LeCoco

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  • Website & Facebook
  • Address: Calle de Barbieri, 15
  • Metro: Chueca
  • Phone: 91 521 99 55



Somos Restaurant, the Jewel in Barceló Torre's Crown


Sometimes hotels are just a place to lay your head before an obscenely early flight – I mean, why else would you ever willingly opt to stay in a Holiday Inn? Then on other occasions, they’re the scene of pure indulgence and relaxation (that’s where Mr and Mrs Smith properties come into the equation). But more often than not, hotel restaurants remain unloved and overlooked in favour of their rooftop pools or swanky spas. The poor relation of the hotel bar as it were.

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

However, just last Tuesday, instead of dismissing Somos (the restaurant located inside the achingly chic Barceló Torre Hotel), I made myself a reso and headed towards the always vibrant Plaza de España to discover that Somos is very much the jewel in this hotel’s crown.

Not just a place to rest your weary self after a day pounding the city’s pavements, Barceló Torre can be surmised as a luxury designer hotel, located in one of the most iconic buildings in Madrid. At first this felt like a bold claim from their PR team, but one that I can attest to having enjoyed nothing short of 5-star treatment; something that I could easily get used to.

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

First things first, the concept of the restaurant is actually genius – when you eat out as much as I do it’s easy to get jaded by the standard gastronomical offerings, but not at Somos. Madrid is a city with a differing day and night scene which Somos sought to encapsulate through its very different menus.

I’m a sucker for attention to detail, but Somos has elevated this into an art form – let me explain. Somos is actually the first dual restaurant that evolves with the city. Everything from your plates (which I was quite tempted to shove in my handbag), to the menu, to the breathtakingly beautiful skyline that Somos looks out onto, changes over the course of the day.

Case in point: the evening menu looks like a CD – for those of you who’ve spent much time in my beloved Madders, you’ll know that Madrileños don’t shy away from a fiesta, or a dancefloor for that matter so this felt like a very fitting touch.

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

Back to the skyline, it’s worth noting the setting is nothing short of being truly stunning. Each table faces outwards, so should you be tired of looking at your companions chops over your delicious dinner, you can cast your gaze over the city which never fails to impress.

If you’ve read one of my previous restaurant reviews (cheers Mum and Dad) you’ll know that interiors are my porn. I mean it, I get giddy over a well upholstered chair like no other, therefore  it’s necessary to note that Somos has been decorated by the prestigious designer Jaime Hayón; an international icon of contemporary design and considered by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 important creators of our time. They weren’t messing about with the dreamy decor.

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

What I ate basically reads like a roll call of my version of a last supper: cherry gazpacho, ceviche, marinated tuna with a delectable avocado hummus (yes that’s a thing), a perfectly seared ribeye fillet, finally rounded off with two puds as I sat and watched the sunset over Gran Via, Madrid’s answer to Broadway.

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel Somos Restaurant Madrid in Barcelo Torre Hotel

Somos is the most recent offering from Grupo Le Cocó and with there being whisperings of a new locale opening this September in Chamberí; it looks as though they’re set to become quite the foodie tour de force. The entire experience from top to toe felt like an ode to the city that I’ve come to call home.

Call me soppy, but a trip to Somos made me fall in love with this city all over again. Admittedly this happens fairly often but make no mistake, dinner at Somos isn’t an invitation – it’s an obligation.

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La Musa Malasaña, the restaurant equivalent of a little black dress


According to Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” And in my humble opinion he’s absolutely spot on. Trends come and go, new restaurants pop up more often than I get my roots done (you heard it here first, no I’m not a natural blonde) and seemingly zeitgeist bars can often sink without trace.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

However, some places become perennial favourites that barely need an introduction. Part of the fabric of the city, they become the kind of places so comfortable to visit, that they really are the foodie equivalent of popping on your favourite little black dress, you know, the one that makes you look hot to trot but requires minimal effort.La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

When struggling for dinner inspiration or in times of when you simply can’t be bothered to cook (it happens, let’s be honest) I head to La Musa – partly out of sheer convenience (it’s about a 3 and half minute stroll from my flat, yes that’s a personal best in stilettos) but trust me when I say it’s nigh on impossible to ever spend more 20 euros on dinner AND drinks. Wine ordered, check. An abundance of tapas that’s never swimming in grease and is both pleasing to the eye and not just the tum, double check.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

Having recently gone an understated renovation, La Musa Malasaña is looking lovelier than ever – you know a bit like a friend having gone through a recent break up and has hit the gym, hard. My friend and I ordered a few small plates including one of their most infamous dishes called a ‘bomba’ – I still don’t quite understand what it is, but I will divulge that it’s carby (yes that’s a word) meaty and downright delish, so be sure to opt for one, if not two.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

I always come away from La Musa with my appetite satiated and my purse (although feeling lighter) not depressingly so. They don’t take reservations so I suggest you pop on your LBD, get in line with your twenty euro note in tow and enjoy.

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I lucked out at Luzi Bombon


I am a country girl by birth and now a bona-fide city girl by choice. However, the downside of living in Madrid means that I now rarely see greenery on a daily basis (unless you count the succulents that I ‘try’ to keep alive in my humble abode). But on the flipside, being an urban dweller gives me access to some the fanciest places to eat, with the best part being that they’re often right on my doorstep.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

Whilst I love a Netflix binge like most millennials, I still relish any given opportunity to don my gladrags and go out for a proper slap up dins. So dress up I did when I headed to Luzi Bombon with a suitably stylish friend in town, and wowzers did we enjoy a veritable feast from beginning to end.

Luzi Bombon isn’t located in an area of Madrid that I often frequent, i.e. it’s not within walking distance of my apartment. I had to treat myself to a taxi (partly due to the vertiginous heels that I was tottering about in) but it’s undoubtedly central enough to appeal to both locals and out-of-towners alike.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Review

What struck me first were the wall to wall photogenic diners – you won’t just be salivating over the menu if the evening I visited was anything to go by. The clientele was as upscale as the perfectly mixed G&T that I was sipping on within minutes of arriving – a G’Vine incase you’re interested.

It’s a sexy venue; possibly the slinkiest of all the Madrid based Grupo Tragaluz offerings with low lighting casting an Insta-worthy filter over my dining companion. Now until recent years I’m not ashamed to admit that I had relatively simple tastes – but due to external influencers in the form of more adventurous friends, I am starting to pride myself of never saying never and giving anything a go. In that spirit, I sampled as much as was humanly possible whilst wearing leather and not wanting to be forklifted out of the venue.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

The stand out star of the show was the giant ‘fruits de mar’ platter that caused the table to groan under its sheer weight. Recommended by the waitress who clearly knew her stuff, it was a-ma-zing and has turned me into a complete crab convert. Obviously it’s not the kind of thing that I’m whipping up at home, which gave the whole meal an even greater sense of occasion. Even as a novice foodie, I have told every man and his dog about that platter and now I’m urging you to hotfoot to Luzi Bombon and do the same.

Dinner doesn’t come cheap but if you’re looking to impress aka maybe bag a second date with the object of your affection, Luzi Bombon is a fab place to pull out all of the stops. As someone who’s rarely lured out of her barrio, Luzi Bombon is well worth the cab ride and gym class that you’ll undoubtedly need to do the following day (in order to burn off every savoured calorie). If seafood platters and pretty peeps are your jam, Luzi Bombon is the (meal) ticket for you.

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  • Facebook
  • Address: Paseo de la Castellana 35
  • Phone: 917 02 27 36
  • Metro: Rubén Darío



Verbena Bar Review


Madrid (and more specifically) Malasaña is choc-a-bloc with cute looking bars, so much so that it’s often nigh on impossible, to pick from the myriad of options. However, should you find yourself Saturday strolling around the vintage shops that pepper Calle Velarde, Verbena is the perfect choice. Not a case of style over substance, Verbena is the perfect mid-shopping pit stop, as well as the ideal place for tapas time.

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

Like similar bars in the area, its decor is pleasing to the eye, as is its proximity to the perennially popular Plaza Dos De Mayo. It offers more than your simple caña/vino combo; I was particularly impressed with its gin selection, which could rival a far swankier locale. I plumped for a Nordes (which hails from Galicia in the north of Spain) – it came expertly served in a Copa de Balon and was quite the snip at 8 euros – I’ve spent obscene amounts on a G&T so this felt relatively bargainous.

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

My fellow bar hoppers enjoyed a crisp Albariño and an Estrella Damn – I was assured that they were both suitably pleasing to the palate and purse (an entire round came to less than a sarnie would in a city such as London or Paris).

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable ( particularly when questioned about their own gin faves). Furthermore, Verbena boasts a simple menu that offers all the classics that you’d come to expect from Madrid – tortilla de patata, croquetas, complete breakfasts and the like. 

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

Verbena is the equivalent of a trusty pair of jeans – a comfy option that requires minimal effort. Smack bang in the city centre, it’d be a crime to walk on by.

3.5 stars out of 5

Info

AddressCalle Velarde, 24

 




Bar Tomate – modest minimalism at its best


Eight years ago I took the plunge and upped sticks to move to Madrid (or Madders as I now affectionately refer to it). The city was in the midst of a financial crisis so bleak, that people went out for a solitary caña rather than cañas – or so it seemed and so I was told.

Fast forward to 2017 and the city feels as though it’s booming once again. Not a week passes by without a new opening, a Mercado of some sort throwing back its doors and the now oh-so-popular weekly After Brunch events.

So in such a crowded marketplace how do you stand out? Well, having the kudos of being part of the Grupo Tragaluz alumni doesn’t hurt, which is why Bar Tomate has proven to be one of my fail safe favourites over the years.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

Located in the increasingly well-heeled and chic neighbourhood of Chamberí, which coincidently is one of my favourite Madrid barrios, Bar Tomate ticks all the boxes offering breakfast, lunch, dinner *a rare find in a city where siesta culture can result in a complete shutdown during certain hours – never ideal if you’re prone to getting hangry!

The vibe is rustic and Mediterranean with the emphasis on simple, fresh ingredients and classics cooked well.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

I went along for dinner on a Friday night and chowed down like a Queen – decisive isn’t my strong point so what was sampled read like an A-Z of deliciousness; ranging from breaded asparagus, chicken tacos, jalapeño spiced shrimp and a burrata the size of my head because, quite frankly, what meal isn’t improved with the addition of cheese! This was naturally all chased down with an array of cocktails that made for an interesting walk home.

If simplicity is your thing I can’t recommend Bar Tomate enough. From the minimalist décor to the unfussiness and ease of the service, Bar Tomate’s strongpoint comes in its lack of pretentiousness when in reality, it has everything to shout about.

Ditch the flats for an evening, as when the DJ appears (as he does on both a Friday and Saturday night) you’re gonna want to get your groove on. Guys, I’ll leave that up to you.

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Arts Club Madrid – Binge, don’t purge


I pride myself on revelling in all things indulgent. My mantra is generally something along the lines ‘Money – well you can’t take it with you’ – which come rent day can be a problem. However, if there are treats to be had/bought/sniffed out, then I’m the girl to find them. Upon recently discovering the Arts Club, I quickly realized that it was the kind of place where I’d happily blow my monthly food budget and then spend the remainder of the month wistfully eating beans on toast.

It is glam.

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

We’re talking full on ‘feels like you’re on Sex and the City/channelling your inner Carrie Bradshaw’ glam – which is a bit of a rare find in a city that prides itself on a lack of pretentions. In fact, walk into the Arts Club and it feels as though Carrie Bradshaw’s name is written all over it – not literally, but you know what I mean. It’s the kind of place that you need to pop your heels on for, unless you fancy looking like the proverbial fish out of water.

The food

The menu is a super tempting mix of Asian fusion (a cliché sounding genre I know but the food was anything but lame). 

Date night

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

The Arts Club is coincidently how to do a date night. This luxurious spot boasts an impressive beer, wine, and cocktail list; the chicest interior design and should someone else be paying (and can therefore stretch to the most sumptuous experience they have to offer) you can bag yourself a table/area for when the dinner part stops and the dancing part kicks in.

Being nestled in the heart of Barrio Salamanca helps it to retain its air of exclusivity but its laidback luxury is coincidently part of its charm. Whilst it may be swish and swanky it’s not intimidatingly so. I suggest, scarp that, I insist that you don your gladrags and spend an evening with the pretty peeps of Madrid.

Photo credit: Arts Club – Madrid

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Bosco de Lobos – casual, cozy and chic restaurant in Chueca


Last month I reviewed the sexy, swish Ana La Santa. If we were to talk in terms of siblings, whilst Ana La Santa may be the mature older brother in the dining out stakes, this means that Bosco de Lobos may be the cuter, younger sister. Smaller in size and with a less obvious position within the city (it’s tucked away between Calle Fuencarral and Hortaleza) sort of straddling Malasaña and Chueca if you will, it’s the ideal place for a simple lunch on their sun kissed terraza or for a casual date night that won’t break the bank.

The atmosphere was (on a Friday night) buzzing to say the least; packed with punters all gagging to sample their take on eclectic European fare, ranging from wood fired pizzas, to steak tartare, to heaving pasta dishes. They do a little bit of everything and instead of this being to their detriment (like that friend you have who spreads themselves too thinly) it’s all lip smackingly good.

Bosco de Lobos Madrid restaurant

Like most, I enjoy dining out (ok, perhaps more than most) but I like to do so in places that lack pretention and that do simple things with style. Bosco de Lobos ticks both boxes. Special mention has to go our waitress, Iryna who was a fountain of knowledge on the wine front, recommending the perfect Rioja to be paired with my steak. We rounded off the evening with a couple of puds and a G&T thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of round, that’s exactly how my midriff felt after eating like a Queen. It doesn’t hurt that the setting is as tasty as the food, lots of sultry low lighting and artfully dishevelled bookshelves, making the whole place feel cosily lived in rather than sterile Scandi in tone.

Unlike La Musa, they do take reso’s so I implore you to make one – you can thank me later.

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Ana La Santa... Baby it’s cold outside


Being an expat in Madrid seems to equate to a couple of things; you’re highly likely to favour drinking a caña over a coffee (it honestly works out cheaper), most of your wardrobe will consist of Zara purchases (although that may just be me) and I’m pretty sure that come Autumn time, you start to long for Sunday afternoons curled up in a pub with a fire and a glass of red for company. Whilst Madrid can offer a visitor many things (often wall to wall sunshine), it doesn’t really pack a punch on the pub front…

However, Ana La Santa has been become my default option for when I’m craving cosiness, and there’s good reason why.

Situated in what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful plazas in all of Madrid, Ana La Santa, the bar and restaurant that occupies the ground floor of the hard to miss Hotel ME, is without doubt the chicest (and next best thing) that’s akin to a Gastropub that you might find back in Blighty. Picture a roaring fire, squidgy sofas, easy on the eye staff and the kind of simple style that is more often found in Scandi-land and you’d be on the right page.

Ana La Santa by Naked Madrid

This season’s buzz word for urbanites is hygge.

Pronounced hoo-ga, this Danish word defies literal translation. In essence it means enjoying life’s small but soothing moments – perhaps nibbling some croquetas de jamón with one hand, whilst sipping a perfectly mixed Gin and Tonic in the other…

It’s about investing in emotional well-being through the simple and homespun. That’s exactly what I managed to achieve there on a bitingly cold Tuesday evening. I left feeling with a slightly larger waistline and feeling that our host (the wonderful Alba) was a new friend – the service was THAT good.

When Spain’s not sunny (and trust me it happens) I urge you to bunker down amid soft cushions, flickering candles and bask in the warmth of Ana La Santa. All that’s left on your part is to find yourself a Spaniard to snuggle with.

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1862 Dry Bar, staggeringly chic cocktail bar on Calle Pez


They say that Madrid has more bars per square mile than any other Spanish city (some even go as far as to boast, in Europe). Whilst I’m not sure of the exact bar tally, not that I’m all that concerned, what I do know is that you only need to step foot out of your house to see that Madrid is certainly not lacking in places to get a drink. If there’s one thing that Spaniards enjoy (aside from the stereotypical siesta) it’s a tipple or two.

However, bars in Madrid tend to generally fall into one of two distinct camps; the ones with the unmissable glow of strip lighting and scattered napkins, that generally tend to be frequented by a more aging population. And those that cater to fans of an exposed brick interior, shabby chic furniture and a drink served in a jam jar. This is what makes 1862 Dry Bar so unique. It falls into neither category and I’m all the more pleased for it. A staggeringly chic cocktail bar perched on the perennially popular Calle Pez, it may look discreet from the roadside, but upon stepping inside, you could quite easily be transported into the prohibition-era bars that are more likely to be found stateside, than in Spain.

The Rose at Dry Bar 1862 Naked Madrid


The affable owner, Alberto, is a fountain of knowledge on the cocktail front, in other words, what he doesn’t know about all things shaken or stirred isn’t worth knowing. The building (an old hardware store I believe) manages to effortlessly straddle being airy and cosy simultaneously. The downstairs is particularly sumptuous, with plenty of nooks for a clandestine date or an intimate chat, whilst sipping on your expertly made pisco sour. 
Gin Fizz at Dry Bar 1862 Naked MadridWhat I particularly loved about 1862 Dry Bar, was the clearly knowledgeable and creative bar staff. The menu has all the classics in place, but also offers up some truly unique cocktails made by guest mixologists ranging from Trailer Happiness (hailing from Hoxton), with another one being from The Ritz Madrid.

The furniture, the staff and ultimately the delectable drinks, make Dry Bar 1862 the perfect watering hole for a date night or a glamorous venue for a gaggle of friends. The cocktails are potent and pack a punch, however, the jewel in the crown is Alberto, whose passion for a decent drink prevails in a city that is often lacking.

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