Situated along a beautiful, winding street in a quiet corner of the city is El Escaldón. This warm and inviting Madrid restaurant offers authentic Canarian food that captures the islands’ very essence in the heart of the Spanish capital.
The interior is cozy and relaxed with exposed stone, wooden accents, and an open bar with lots of beautiful wines on display (our favorite was the Blanco Afrutado, a charmingly light, fruity white). The space puts you at ease, and it’s not hard to feel as if you’ve just walked in off of a Canarian beach. Everything from the Canarian lullaby on the wall to the plants growing out of old olive oil containers surrounds you in a culture distinct from that of the Spanish peninsula.
As far as starters go, the Papas Arrugadas are not to be missed. The tender Mona Lisa potatoes are generously salted and topped with one of three varieties of traditional mojo sauce – mild paprika, spicy paprika, or coriander. When you bite in, the crisp saltiness of the skin and the spicy intensity of the sauce are immediately contrasted with the potato’s indulgent, creamy interior.
The croquetas are gloriously crunchy on the outside, each with a different filling. Pata asada, or soft roasted pork leg, provides a lovely texture against the otherwise smooth inside. The bacalao, or black cod, croqueta is light, creamy, and flavorful without being overpowering. Lastly, but certainly not least, the sweet morcilla, or black pudding, is coated in toasted almonds, providing the perfect combination of sweet and savory – simply delicious.
One of the stars of the show is the semi-cured, deep-fried goat cheese smothered in chorizo marmalade and coriander mojo sauce. The chorizo marmalade is an inventive take on the tried and true combination of goat cheese with a sweet sauce. The savory layer that the chorizo adds to the flavors makes the dish truly unforgettable.
The Bacalao Encebollado (black cod), which sits atop a bed of caramelized onions, is sweet and tender. The paprika mojo sauce takes on a new form in this dish, with the addition of a white wine reduction complemented by the salty tang of green olives. Watch out – that’s not a cherry tomato on top, but if you’re a fan of spicy food, you’ll love the kick it adds to a meaty bite.
For the adventurous eater, try the Conejo en Salmorejo, or leg of rabbit in a sauce of spices and figs. The spiced fig puree is refried and marinated for three days. This delicacy is made on 5 of the 7 Canary Islands. In the Islands, every household has its own take on the combination of spices that go into this dish. We don’t know the secret recipe here, but we do know that it’s certainly worth a taste.
One final surprise that this Madrid restaurant holds is the honey rum served as an after-dinner drink. So sweet it’s a technically a liqueur, this is one rum you won’t want to stop drinking. One sip fills your mouth with a rich warmth before it slips down your throat as easily as if you were drinking water. Don’t leave without giving it a try!
Perhaps the most striking thing about El Escaldón is the fact that the food here is so much more than an assortment of impeccably prepared dishes. Each course feels intensely personal, as if a piece of cultural heritage is being offered up on a plate. While other restaurants offer Canarian-style food fused with other types of cuisine, El Escaldón is one Madrid restaurant that sticks to tradition and strives for authenticity.
What are you waiting for? Go and sample the delights of El Escaldón, and say hello to Robin for us. You won’t regret it!
El Escaldón: a Madrid restaurant with Canarian cuisine
Address: Calle Nuncio, 17
Telephone: 91 365 55 06
*Article co-written by Annika De Souza and Orlagh Harley