Oribu GastroBar for sure had me at hello. Nestled amongst the many greats of Calle Barquillo, it is a worthy resident of the street and a force to be reckoned with. To be honest, before going to Oribu GastroBar I was somehow apprehensive. I wasn’t sure what to expect. My only solace into knowing that it might be good was the fact that I had been invited by Javier Munarriz, one of Madrid’s distinguished and longtime gastrobloggers. “Surely, he wouldn’t invite to something mediocre,” I mused to myself. Truth be told, the more I MuchBite myself around Madrid, the more I take it personally that only quality makes it to the blog.
My oh my, dear reader, am I glad I went to Oribu GastroBar. Oribu is a Japanese word which translates into olive; and therein lies many clues as to what to expect there. The cuisine on offer is the perfect fusion between Japanese cuisine with hints of the Mediterranean. On my recent visit, my taste buds were kept alive with the exotic flavours that mixed the likes of wasabi, avocado, truffles and shiitake mushrooms. These came together to make up the must-eat dishes on any first visit to Oribu GastroBar and possibly subsequent ones, too.
The showstoppers were the two fresh baos that came with soft shell crab fried in tempura and oxtail made into a round patty. The soft shell crab was complimented with a Japanese style pickle and a type of mayonnaise called bienmesabe which is made of egg whites and sugar, pretty much the mixture for making merengue. The resulting taste was the fishy taste and crunchy texture of the crab at first bite which was quickly fused with the sweetness of the bao bun and the bienmesabe then finished off with the salty flavour from the pickle. Funny how bienmesabe translates into tastes good to me because that’s exactly what it was for me. The second bao with oxtail had the strong taste of oxtail carefully balance with a homemade teriyaki sauce which made sure one could enjoy the entire bao without the sometimes over powering taste of oxtail. The few fresh salad leaves completed the bao’s flavour harmony.
To give you a comprehensive post, the eating show had to continue. The next dishes to be served were sea urchin with scrambled eggs and fried octopus with an olive pâté à la wasabi et limon. At this point, allow me to make a long over due confession, I don’t eat eggs. (Yes, that includes tortilla española, too) With that in mind, my sea urchin feedback would be moot. However, the good news in that the people I shared the table with, Madrid Seduce, Le Cool Madrid and Javier included, all joined in one accord to give the sea urchin their seal of approval. So, go figure. I can tell you though that the octopus was en su punto. Being fried, the skin and the suckers were slightly tougher leaning towards crunchy which added bite to the otherwise soft cooked sea creature. Then the white flesh was left soft and almost melted on your tongue. Combining the octopus with the olive pâté gave such an interesting fusion of flavours that I lamented over when the dish was finished.
Other dishes I greatly enjoyed included the dim sum served with grilled duck liver and a ragout style stew of truffles and shiitake mushrooms, the tuna tartare with avocado mouse and of course, the show stopping maki, spectacularly fired with a blow torch right in front of you.
To top it all off, we finished off with a dessert of a Sobao Torrija soaked in lemon-grass and coconut milk and served with a side scoop of Bulgarian yoghurt ice cream. Really, this dessert was on point. I am such a big fan of Torrijas and to have had the chance to eat a sobao Torrija with all that going for it was a nice ending to an otherwise exceptional meal.
On my next visit to Oribu GastroBar, I will be sure to delve into their ramen offerings, which from spying on some being delivered to other tables, look quite decent. At Oribu GastroBar, not only will you enjoy fantastic food, but the space itself tells volumes. As they themselves describe it, it’s “cool and cosmopolitan.” The restaurant is set across roughly 4 generously sized dining areas and has two bars serving wines, beers and cocktails. It is the perfect place to have a quiet dinner or a big event with family and friends alike.
What you waiting for?
Address: Calle Barquillo 10, Madrid
Telephone: 915 24 03 17
Average price per person: 30euros