The last thing anyone needs after last night’s indulgence is heavy, saturated, greasy food. So my remedy would be a refreshing organic smoothie from Nest Organic to start the day. Welcome to Saturday. My personal favourites from the menu would be The Green Detox, boasting a rich melange of kale, spinach, goji berries, etc. Or, The Forever Young with a healthy selection of oranges, carrots and fresh turmeric. These concoctions will give you that feel good factor and the “at least I’m being healthy feeling.” Struggling with tiredness and energy too? Why not ask them about their energy shots? I have now replaced more coffee with a nice shot of aliento de dragon (dragon’s breath) – that will wake you right up!
As you can have your smoothies to go, why not take them on a nice stroll through Calle Castallana as you absorb the views of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and Modern Madrid with its impressive towers such as Torre Europa and Torre Picasso and even the four towers will be in view from a distance just behind you. You will also pass Nuevos Ministerios, the Natural Science Museum and Gregorio Maranon. All this will lead you directly into the welcoming arms of brunch. This is a must go destination for anyone to have brunch the way it should be. Panela and Co will seduce you with fresh homemade delights, authentic bagels, eggs Benedict, Red Velvet pancakes and scrumptious waffles. The ambience here reminds me of downtown Manhattan. Spending time here will more than help ensure that your body and mind wind right down, away from the hustle and bustle of the Madrid centre. I’d book a table to guarantee a space and reduce my waiting time. This will now be the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries and reminisce on the shenanigans of the night before, if any.
Panela and Co is a stones throw away from Calle Serrano. Need I say more? So why not walk across this street for a spot of shopping or window shopping (depending on how light your wallet or purse may be feeling). Otherwise, I’d walk straight down that street until I reached the recently opened El Corte Ingles Gourmet Experience on the corner of Calle Serrano and Calle Ayala. Straight at the top of that, the amazing rooftop bar exposes you to stunning views of Madrid, including Calle Serrano to the very end of it and the iconic Colon Barclay’s Bank Building. Being the caballero that I am, I would have a glass of wine, a beer, a gin and tonic, whatever my little heart desired. Should I be peckish, well, there’s the ice cream parlour from the good folks at Rocambolesc. They have so many flavours to choose from. From the quintessential vanilla and chocolate to the more inventive and quirky ones, such as baked apple or the asparagus sorbet.
I have to admit, I’m known to have a bottomless stomach, but even the most bottomless of things have some sort of base. I’d much rather eat small things, just bites, MuchBites, from now on. That would suffice. Before embarking on the next round of eating, I might suggest an amble over to Retiro for a pleasant, casual walk. Admire the beautiful lake, the Crystal Palace and just get lost in the wonderment of this park. All of this walking will aid one’s digestion and stir up a bit of an appetite for the evening’s festivities.
Saturday evening eating would be a confused, enjoyable mess of Galician food, (octopus [pulpo a la gallega], grilled green peppers [pimientos del pardon], Albarino [Galician wine] …) courtesy of Taberna Maceira (Calle Huertas, 66). I do stress, I go here for the food not the service. So don’t allow your experience to be spoilt by expecting great service; having said this – rest assured the food will be good. This is a tapas kind of experience. Small bites but very good with Galician music in the background.
The confused, enjoyable mess would be followed by some French crepes from Le Comptoir de la Crepe, just a few doors down. I always order the crepe with caramel breton which is a salted butter caramel, so not sickly sweet. However, there are so many options here, from the crepes with Nutella, ice creams, to the flambéed liquor selections – literally the choice is yours.
Since we are on Calle Huertas, it would be rude to ignore the vibrant jazz scene there that beckons our attention. Before starting the weekend on Thursday, spend Wednesday checking out what jazz events and artists would be out and about in the likes of Cafe Populart, Cafe Central and Trocha. Personally, I would wind down my night like this. For the more energetic, the area Huertas we are in is heaving with pubs, bars and clubs, with most coming alive after 2 a.m. Go figure.
My oh my! Where has time gone?! It’s already Sunday. I can feel the weight having been added to all parts of my body, but we can’t stop, we won’t stop – have to keep it going, man. I would use Sunday to relax completely and utterly. Still eating out but maximum chillax. One can afford a lie in. The must visit brunch place for me on Sunday is Bar Tomate.
Brunch finishes at 1, so I always waltz in at 12:45. Having had a lie in but still in time for some yummy food. My friends at Bar Tomate have many options for brunch that range from: eggs, bacon, salmon, etc – but to be quite honest, for this part of the day I prefer to be vegetarian. So my brunch choice would be: a fresh fruit salad, Greek yoghurt, honey and a glorious selection of toast with jam, butter and tomato. This platter won’t sit heavy on my dear stomach. In addition, Bar Tomate is also fantastic for eating slowly and just talking. My favourite table is at the far end of the restaurant by the window. I usually sit there for hours, (I end up having to leave because it’s lunch time and they are heaving).
From Bar Tomate, the location would be perfect for an amble into Malasana. As a neighbourhood, Malasana is very up there with the likes of Brick Lane in London. You can walk around to find some great vintage clothing stores, trainers (sneakers) stores and just urban fashion. This amble through Malasana has the sole purpose of leading me to Federal Café for some perfect Flat White coffee and Guiness and Chocolate cake and a nice glass of cava later. Or, to avoid liver problems later in life, they have a great selection of smoothies and even a refreshing elderflower cordial! The brightness and airiness of Federal Café will make you just want to do nothing but sit and enjoy and start the process of “loving Monday”.
Dear me, I have given you too many things to do, let’s stop here and start getting ready for Monday. No dinner option I’m afraid, but consider it all joy! If hurt by this conclusion, do get in touch, I’ll give you some personal recommendations.
And that was the weekend. Hope you follow the recommendations and fall in love with Madrid for the 100th time!