Restaurante Coque – Madrid, Spain

I am glad to announce that I am no longer a Michelin virgin. Yes, I swiped my v-card in Madrid at one Michelin-star restaurant, Restaurante Coque. And it was fun. Sorry I’ve been so MIA, I’ve been travelling so much for my day job.

First off, this restaurant is quite out in the boondocks, driving from Campos de las Naciones took almost 45 minutes. When I arrived everything around the restaurant looked abandoned and rundown. It’s like “What’s a Michelin restaurant like you doing in a place like this?”

The food at Restaurante Coque is a little chi-chi with bits of molecular cuisine here and there, which is all fine and good. But I do like my food to still look simple and be, well, food.  I’m not saying that the restaurant is bad, but it was a little too chi-chi for my taste. But it serves food small plates style, typical of Spanish cuisine.

It started off with three olive appetiser, an olive “cake”, a green molecular blob of olive oil and a puffy warm bread filled with extra-virgin olives. The second plate was the chef’s take on the Spanish tortilla (omelette in Spain), the small yellow circle is smoked in one of his three wood-fired ovens and when bitten into oozes a warm egg mixture much like savoury lava cake.

I know the bottom image is slightly blurry. Shaky hands in the face of good food

I know the bottom image is slightly blurry. Shaky hands in the face of good food

The next course was a fresh lettuce salad with a lettuce sorbet with lemon juice, a refreshing and palate cleansing “restart” to the proper meal. After came two tiny dumplings filled with celeriac, shredded crab and lime topped an edible flower

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There are 5 more courses to go so, I’m not going into too much detail if not this will take forever. This next one was funny, the waiters, despite it being a starred restaurant, can’t really speak English. So when I asked what was in this dish, he replied me “Different vegetables.” So I’ll elaborate that it was an assorted winter vegetable dish with tomatoes, asparagus, carrots and more. Another vegetable dish on the menu was the beetroot, which surprisingly no earthy taste but instead carried the tang of the balsamic vinegar seasoning.

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After came an intricately plated seafood dish with wakame, lobster, squid, scallop, mussel, pistachio sponge, clams, a dog clam puree and guess what, the shell is a realistic sugar shell which is completely edible

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It was probably three hours into the meal before the meats showed up. A pink salt slab with salted fish on a slice of tomato arrived, I found it incredibly salty. Way too salty for consumption, so that was a big red X. But the other fish dish came Asian style. Raw codfish to be cooked in a hot broth of white wine and vinegar resulting in a tart and moreish fish.

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Right after that was a flavourful soup with a quail egg yolk in the middle and egg white curds. Warm, savoury and comforting in the cold weather.

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The three meat dishes that finally arrived at our table were an artfully plated beef tendon with almost six different components to the dish, a tender tuna cheek which was smothered in a smokey barbecue sweet-ish sauce, an smoked wild hare. The last dish was presented atop a glass case with a bullet shell casing and some hunting paraphernalia. My dining companions were quite turned off by that, but I thought it was in bad taste but not a turn off. How does hare taste like? Well, Coque’s tastes like a very rare steak, its a slightly tough meat with bite.

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After all that eating it was almost 1am. Spanish eat quite late, so we started at 10 and ended almost at 2am! Talk about death by eating. The desserts came out next, a palate cleansing yuzu sorbet with crumble and coconut milk curds and my favourite of the night which I made extra space in my stomach, the bronze block of nougat or turron as they call it. The block gave way to a fluffy and creamy mousse within with a caramel-like flavour. The violet candy flower and marzipan beads up top were a beautiful and tasty touch.

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The meal was official over after that. But we had unofficial petit fours and coffee/tea, then IT WAS THE END. I would have preferred to have started earlier as I was so jet lagged I could barely keep my eyes open anymore by midnight. All in all a sumptuous and extravagant meal that gave me an experience of a lifetime.

If you habla espanol, visit http://restaurantecoque.com/es/

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