Gin and on it at Le Cocó


Sundays (if you let them) can frankly be a little bit rubbish. And in the winter – even worse. Chances are you’re nursing a mild to moderate hangover. There’s life admin to smash. And then the potential doom that often comes when you spy the return to work on the horizon.

This often means that Sundays don’t have that carefree Friday feeling. They’re the waiting room for the working week. However, as I discovered last Sunday, it definitely doesn’t have to be that way and Sunday Funday most certainly doesn’t have to remain as some intangible insta friendly phrase – especially not in this city.

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Le Cocó, the cosy little Chueca spot that I reviewed back in the summer, is now playing host to ‘Gin and Cookie’ afternoons. You show up, you drink gin, you eat cookies. There’s not much not to love. Between 5-8pm on both Saturdays and Sundays, there’s a DJ on the decks helping you to keep your party pants on until your alarm pretty much goes off on a Monday morn.

Le Coco by Naked Madrid

In my previous Le Cocó post I mentioned just how how lovely the decor is and now that winter is really starting to bite, it’s the perfect place to bunker down for an afternoon and enjoy some copas in good company.

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It goes without saying that each bite of the cookies was well worth the calories. The red velvet ones in particular deserve a mention as I could’ve happily munched the lot – but clearly needed to leave some room for the perfectly mixed G&Ts.
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So if like me, you’re keen to eek out the dregs of the weekend until the bitter end, make a date at Le Cocó. Remember, the weekend isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Or in this case, you’ve eaten all the cookies.
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Make plans to meet at Meat Madrid


A few years back, I was lucky enough to visit Chicago and let’s just say that the food in the windy city is up there with its architecture; it’s pretty memorable. It helped enormously that I was visiting a friend who is quite the foodie and had mapped out a dining odyssey that ensured that I needed two seats on the flight home, given the cals I’d ingested in the space of one week.

One meal that stood out was a burger at the now-infamous hotspot, Au Cheval. My friend nonchalantly explained that given the reputation of the burgers there, we’d need to put our names down and head off for drinks before we’d actually get to chow on down. Obviously this seemed absurd as a visiting Brit, but I duly did as I was told. Fast forward a couple of hours and boy did I eat my words (and what remains to be THE most epic burger I’ve ever tasted).

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It’s hard to explain what made it so unforgettable, but it’s certainly not just me that feels that way. Google the burger at Au Cheval and it’s been hailed by almost every Tom, Dick and Harry as the best in the world. Since that fateful evening in Chi Town, I’ve been on the hunt for the next best thing and I think my search is over upon discovering Meat.

Meat Review by Naked Madrid

Meat is tucked away down a street that offers plenty of eating options such as Boca Calle and Cripeka. But if you’re in the business of beef, Meat is where it’s at. The concept and menu are equally similar, they do two burgers (along with with fries, onion rings and salad) and that’s it. There’s the perennially popular Cheeseburger and whatever happens to be the monthly special.

Meat Review by Naked Madrid

We ordered the whole shebang and it was a treat for the old tastebuds. I’m known for being quite the carnivore so suffice to say, Meat may be my happy place. I don’t need bells and whistles when it comes to a decent-tasting burger and what makes Meat so good is that they focus on the basics and execute them to perfection. A buttery brioche bun, paired with perfectly seasoned beef makes you happy to indulge even when your jeans are feeling slightly snug.

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It didn’t go unnoticed to me that there’s Aesop products in the bathroom and G’Vine gin on offer which elevates Meat in my opinion from some of its more humble carnivorous competitors. On a Tuesday evening it was mildly busy but not eardrum shatteringly so, making it the ideal spot for a midweek bite to eat which will leave you with change from a twenty.

Make plans to meet at Meat.

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Peyote San, Mexican fusion at its most fabulous


I love Mexican food. I mean, I properly LOVE it. A holiday spent in Tulum with tequila on tap was possibly as close to utopia as I’ll ever get on the food front. Tacos, guac, and burritos – I love them all equally and don’t get me started on margaritas – second to gin (and possibly water due to pure necessity) it definitely edges its way into my three most supped liquids. So imagine my intrigue when I’d heard about the menu at Peyote San – a place that’s managed to fuse Mexican munchies with sushi. Definitely worth a gander I mused and suffice to say it was.

Located near Colon (or as I affectionately refer to the area with the ‘giant flag’) Peyote San restaurant is en route to where the good shops are. From the outside looking in it could easily be missed, but the interior is anything but shy and retiring. It’s instantly instagramable (yes, that’s now a word along with with TMI and FML) largely due to the bold graffiti-type images that adorn most of the walls.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

If you’ve travelled to the Big Apple it certainly feels reminiscent of somewhere swish that you’d find on the Upper West Side – choc-a-bloc with beautiful people sipping elaborately prepared cocktails. However, fear not, it wasn’t a case of style over substance as every last morsel was utterly delicious and well worth the late school night in my case.

I’ve yet to visit Japan (although it’s on my bucket list) and the cuisine at Peyote San was the next best thing. I worked my way through A LOT of food to make this review as authentic as poss so drumroll please – I can vouch that the tatiki tuna, chicken gyoza, black cod and the Japanese curry with bonito were all delectable as were the pretty potent Asian Malgalita’s – a Peyote San take on a classic Marg and unquestionably are to be enjoyed with an air of YOLO – and not the worry of reaching for ibuprofen the following day.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

Given the uniqueness of the food, it was also a really nice touch that the chef came over to talk us through the menu and his knowledge and evident passion for the food made the evening all the more gratifying. Peyote San definitely isn’t the type of locale to visit if you’ve got too much month left and not enough money. It’s definitely more of a date night treat or a birthday splurge.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

Having said that, come Saturday nights, tables are shuffled to the sidelines so that patrons can get their groove on. Having lived in Madrid long enough now to know that Madrileños would favour spending their last fiver on a night out (than something sensible), Peyote San shouldn’t remain on your wish list, pop it in on your hit list now.

Info

  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Address: Calle Marques de la Ensenada 16
  • Metro: Colon
  • Phone: 91 088 22 12

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Lady Madonna, because Sundays are made for brunching


As an ex-pat in Madrid there are a couple of things that I really miss from home. The M&S food hall (say no more). Boots – I mean who doesn’t love a decent 3 for 2 offer; and last but by no means least, a Sunday roast. So in lieu of Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings, Sundays in Madrid are all about brunch, as opposed to lunch.

Lady Madonna restaurant by Naked Madrid

Lady Madonna has always been a firm favorite of mine (you can even read my review on the restaurant here). With its pretty little terraza, it’s an ideal spot for a post work drink, or a solid choice when you’re looking like a decent dinner that won’t break the bank.

Lady Madonna restaurant brunch spot by Naked Madrid

Little did I know that brunch was an option and this was no half baked attempt; they offer a set menu that will set you up for the day – I mean breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day right?

Lady Madonna brunch spot by Naked Madrid

I opted for eggs benedict followed by carrot cake – both paired with coffee, juice and a mojito that proved to be quite the effective hair of the dog. But there were a good five savory options as well as deserts, and if mojitos aren’t your thing there’s also bloody mary’s and mimosas on offer.
Lady Madonna restaurant brunch spot by Naked Madrid

I arrived feeling slightly fragile from my Saturday night antics and left with my appetite having been satiated and feeling virtuous that I’d even enjoyed a little bit of sun all by midday. The best bit, the fixed brunch menu comes in at only 18 euros. Well, it would be rude not to indulge at such a snip.

Info

  • Facebook
  • @ladymadonna_restaurante
  • Address: Calle Orellana, 6
  • Metro: Alonso Martínez
  • Phone: 915 02 41 82



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Info

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



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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Go Crazy for Cannibal.


New restaurant openings (or in fact any kind of opening) within Madrid are pretty much ten a penny. When strolling round any of the barrios, you’d be hard pressed to not spy an exposed brick or a jam jar cocktail vying for your attention, in what’s becoming an increasingly crammed marketplace.

However, there are some new spots that feel no need for fanfare and know full well that the masses are going to flock in their droves. Cannibal holds this covetable spot. The restaurant equivalent of someone tall, dark and handsome – Cannibal is poised to become the darling of the Madrid restaurant scene and you won’t just need to take my word for it; you could ask anyone who was there last Saturday (when it was packed to the rafters).

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Madrid non-newbies will remember that the site of Cannibal once housed the infamous brunch spot ‘Cafe Oliver’ and when it closed its doors, many mourned the loss. So imagine my excitement whilst on my daily walk to work when I spied renovations.

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Now painted in an inky blue hue, the newly opened Cannibal is hard to miss. The name alludes to what’s on offer dinner wise. The raw stuff. Tartare. Ceviche. Carpaccio. But don’t despair if you’re not a fan of the cold stuff, the menu offers a mean hamburger and THE most delish Peruvian Pork dish that was inhaled within mere minutes.

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Now I could wax lyrical about just how good the food was –  because it truly was. We’re talking last meal type claims (if like me burrata and steak carpaccio is your idea of food heaven). But it wasn’t just the food that had my company and me swooning; it was the service.

In a country where asking for the bill is usually met with a grunt, the team at Cannibal couldn’t have been more charming or attentive – much to the glee of my dinner companions. They happily talked through the menu with genuine interest, they were knowledgeable about ingredients and at no point were our glasses empty. I know this kind of vibe is to be expected in a country like the states, but in the land of jamon this is rare.

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It goes without saying that the decor satiated my interiors porn thirst and it didn’t hurt to have a window seat on a balmy evening, where you would people watch over your dulce de leche pud.

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Like all restaurants reviews, I’m always torn between spreading the word and keeping schtum for fear of a place becoming busier than the Bernabeu on a match day, but the secret’s out.

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Embrace your inner cannibal and happy feasting. Who cares if it’s bikini season with food that good? That’s what kaftan’s are for.

*All photos are from Cannibal Raw Bar Madrid’s FB page & Instagram

Info

  • Facebook & Website & Instagram
  • Address: Calle Almirante., 12, 28004 Madrid
  • Phone: 910 26 87 94
  • Metro: Chueca, Colón, Banco de España



The Place: Come, eat, and stay a while


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Eduardo opened The Place for the reason we all hope anyone would open a restaurant: he wants you to come over and try his food.

His finely tuned menu is the result of years of travelling around the world. Every dish we tried transported us to a different place, but every ingredient used is home-grown in and around Madrid.

This is reason enough to make The Place “the place to be”, but while we were there, other punters didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. They came for a coffee, suddenly had a cheese/meat platter in front of them, then dinner, and before they knew it, were holding a Caipirinha. Folks were getting totally carried away, confirming that The Place is also a pretty nice place to hang out.

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You can come to The Place for any reason (food, cocktails, wifi), but we were here for dinner, and as you do here in Spain, we decided to share everything.

The Asian-style Waka-Mola Salad with a guacamole and soy-sauce dressing is how I shall make salad from now on. The tabbouleh told tales of the Middle East, and the French-style quiche was packed full of Mediterranean vegetables. The subtle spices in Eduardo’s pumpkin soup momentarily transported me to India before I was hoisted north to Iceland with the Viking Veggie toasted goats’ cheese sandwich, and back to earth with a rustic baked ricotta cheesecake.

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As you can see, Eduardo has a bit of a thing for cutlery. The hallmarks on each handle tell a story, and if you look closely, you’ll find pieces from all corners of Europe, which is exactly where he picked them up. My teaspoon was made in Sheffield between 1900 and 1940! If you’re into cutlery too, you’ll find a haul of Spanish gems in the Rastro every Sunday.

There’s also an unusually good selection of artisanal beers – blond Czech lager and Cibeles Imperial IPA are on tap – and several bottled beers. You’ve also got plenty of local wines to choose from, plus an extensive cocktail and spirits menu.

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The front of the restaurant has a large solid-wood table, ideal for either groups or MacBooking soloists, and when summer eventually arrives, the wall-to-wall windows will be flung open. Even better is the snug through the back where the seating is comfy and cosy and stylishly un-matching. If you can, nab the sofa next to the wood-burning fireplace and upright piano and have a jangle on it if you graduated beyond Chopsticks.

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Info

  • Address: Calle del Noviciado 16
  • Metro: Noviciado & Plaza España



Urso Hotel & Spa, Take a holiday (from a 'holiday')


When you tell people that you live abroad the general response is usually something along the lines of ‘Oh you must feel like you’re on holiday all the time!‘ or ‘Think of all the sun and sangria!’ to ‘You must be perma-tanned!’ Admittedly, whilst there is a lot of sun and I do feel like I’m on ‘holiday’ when I look up at all the pretty balconies in Malasaña, La Latina and the like, I’m most certainly not perma-tanned (without the help of something I purchased from Space NK) and life’s mundane tasks have a way of finding you wherever you live *read/washing/ironing/cleaning/taking the bins out.

So no matter whether you’re fortunate enough to live in a sunny clime (in this case the marvelous Madders) there comes a time when you fancy a holiday within the city; if true indulgence floats your boat then look no further than the exquisitely elegant and seriously stylish, Hotel Urso.
Urso Hotel & Spa by Naked Madrid

Nestled on Calle Mejia Lequerica, Hotel Urso is a relatively small but perfectly formed boutique hotel. Discovered through the Mr and Mrs Smith website (which I cannot recommend enough) it’s the kind of hotel you’ll never want to leave. Fluffy white robes adorn the bathroom door, there for the taking when the spa takes your fancy. Pillows so soft, that lifting your head up from one feels like a chore (or maybe that was partly due to too much gin the night before). But still, it felt like having a glimpse into how the other half live – all freshly brewed coffee, sumptuous soft furnishings and complimentary welcome fizz at the hotel bar.

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Service wise, Hotel Urso couldn’t be faulted. In a country that often leaves a lot to be desired on that front (why do I have to beg for a bill?!) nothing was too much trouble. We forgot our toothbrushes – two new ones appeared by magic. My mum on arrival managed to fall up the stairs – turns out marble floors, heels and mimosas don’t mix (but cue an ice pack appearing at lightning speed) – I can only stress here that apples don’t fall far from the tree and that making an entrance must run in the family!

When check out time swung round (which wasn’t until 12; a Mr and Mrs Smith perk might I add) neither of us wanted to leave – or part with the 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.

It’s worth noting that if splurging on a night away isn’t an option – unless money starts growing on trees (as a deluxe room wasn’t cheap) they have jazz nights every Thursday and the pop up restaurant ‘The Table By’ which are well worth a visit, with a different chef dominating in the kitchen each month.

I left Sunday morning plotting how many private classes I’d have to teach so that I can return, and soon. Should I be lucky enough to do so, my mum will be wearing flats.

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Bosco de Lobos: Dine in a secret garden in good company


In the middle of Chueca, deep in the courtyard/garden of the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid, you’ll find a glass house that feels more LA than Madrid, and inside that glass house, you’ll find Bosco de Lobos. Bosco de Lobos is part of En Compañia de Lobos, a restaurant group that has Ana La Santa in Madrid as well as four restaurants in Barcelona and another in Mexico City. It calls itself a restaurant, bar, garden, and a place for work and meetings. And indeed it is a grat place to meet, especially for groups. After hearing nothing but great things about it from my friend Carla, and seeing a picture of Blanca Suárez devouring spaghetti on Instagram, it was abundantly clear that I needed to get there.

And so one Wednesday night, my group from my first trimester of grad school got together for a reunion dinner in this wonderful place. While you may get lost the first time you get there, you just go to the back of the Colegio de Arquitectos, and you will find it hidden behind the entrance.

Bosco de Lobos bar by Naked Madrid

Walking back to the restaurant already gives you a sense of awe, that you know you’re in a beautiful place and will be transported from the rest of the city out there.

Bosco de Lobos bar by Naked Madrid

Bosco de Lobos bar by Naked Madrid

After a walk down the path to the main entrance, you’re welcome at the bar and ready to be transported to dine in a restaurant that has a comfortable feel. 

Walking inside is like being welcomed into someone’s house, with comfortable tables and shelves with a wide assortment of books. When the weather’s warm, tables are set up outside in the garden, allowing for more space. However, we were there in January, so that gives an excuse to go back again.

Here’s a photo from their Facebook page so you can see what it looks like during the day!

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We sat in an area overlooking the garden with a wide selection of books and plenty of space for the six of us to have a bonding experience.

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Bosco de Lobos bar by Naked Madrid

Bosco de Lobos serves Italian cuisine, with pizza and pasta the stars of the menu, however there are meat dishes and some tapas. Many websites laud the lasagna (and that will be what I’ll have to have next time), but two of us order the roast chicken, one ordered steak, two ordered pizzas (one the whole-wheat vegetable pizza and the other the taleggio con trufa de invierno), and then I ordered the paparadelle with red-wine meat ragout.

The portion size was great, especially since I do not eat pasta very often. I was not overly stuffed, and I even had room to try the vegetable pizza.  What was nice about the sauce was that it was meat-based, while not as heavy as a bolognese, and the paparadelle was fresh and perfectly cooked. They even left me with my own block of cheese with personal grater had I been in the mood for more.

Everyone in the group was satisfied with our meal, and we spent over two hours together catching up, just like old times.

When you have a group dinner and are looking to feel right at home in the middle of a tranquil garden, then Bosco de Lobos is the place to go!

Info

  • Calle de Hortaleza, 63
  • Tel.: +34 915 249 464
  • Facebook
  • Website
  • Metro: Alonso Martínez (Lines 4, 5, and 10)