A city break was our next romance milestone and we decided to visit Madrid. It’s a fabulous city, and we were lucky enough to have a local guide for the whole weekend in the shape of A.’s lovely friend Anna. Our first stop was the Reina Sofia museum of modern art, where we took a leisurely stroll through the glorious building and saw some fabulous artworks including Picasso’s famous Guernica. Some serious legwork meant that we felt that we’d earned a substantial lunch.
The temperatures outside were hovering around 40 degrees so we decided to stay close to the cool of the museum and wandered into NuBel on the ground floor of the complex. The cavernous space is impressive, an ultra modern space-aged feel with rounded shapes everywhere. We settled down to order the main meal of our day. The menu was a feast of treats, and the cause of much hilarity on the translation front. Come on Nubel, Reina Sofia attracts an international crowd so if you’re going to offer an English translation then please invest in a good translation service and do it properly. My favourite from the current online menu is:
Tripes … mmmm, yum!
Once we’d recovered our composure we set about ordering, and decided on a selection of starters and small plates to share. There was no quibbling with the quality or presentation of the food and we enjoyed mussels from an arty tin (slightly odd to an English mind, but still delicious); anchovies that converted me to actually liking the things; and courgette flowers with a dippy egg on a bed of salt. Anna assured us that the ubiquitous crisps that accompany seemingly every dish would have been hand prepared in the kitchen, but they were a dead ringer for Walkers.
On to desserts, and here things went a little awry. The chocolate tart was heaven, unfortunately for A. who mistimed a quick loo break and came back to find that Anna and I had devoured most of it. It was a different story with the lemon meringue pie that had been deconstructed to within an inch of its life. Why, chefs, why? Deconstruction has to add something to the dish surely? This had simply been pulled apart, and not very attractively.
I haven’t mentioned the service, largely because it was minimal to say the least. Leaving diners in peace is one thing, but this was in another league – our waiter actually speed walked past the table with his head firmly pointed in the other direction. Still, overall we enjoyed our experience, and although the bill was a tad on the high side for a relatively light meal this wasn’t unexpected in such a high profile restaurant.
One to impress, and there is a less formal seating area.
Cost: c£35 per person including wine
PMC Rating (loos): ★★★★★ Sparkling clean and stunningly designed
NuBel, Calle Argumosa 43, 28028 Madrid. Edificio Nouvel. Museo Reina Sofía. Saturday, 15th July 2017