Posted on Wednesday, 7th October 2015
AL TRAPO MADRID
Al Trapo Restaurant in Madrid is a slick operation serving a fun-filled, modern menu by renowned Spanish chef Paco Morales. With Al Trapo, Paco Morales’ vision was to give diners complete freedom to mix and choose so that they could personalise their own sharing experience. In 2011 Paco Morales was awarded a Michelin star for his Restaurant “Ferrero-Paco Morales” which closed in 2013. With his Michelin star background, Paco Morales brings a level of refinement to the quirky menu.
Situated on the ground floor of the IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Vía, the concept behind Al Trapo’s menu revolves around different inspirations, each of which are originally titled. The inspirations begin with ‘To eat with your hands and lick your fingers’, a section devoted to small canapé sized tasters. From there it moves on to ‘Gentle And Classy’ for something subtle and then to ‘Roguish and zingy’ for something more bold. ‘Meseta and sea’ are for all things swimmingly delicious, and then there is ‘From just around the corner’ which provides diners with a taste of traditional Spanish flavours. For a touch of the international there is ‘So far and yet so near’. A selection of ‘Cheeses from far and near’ and ‘Desserts, little indulgences’ round off the choice of culinary delights to be savoured at Al Trapo. Each section features about four to six dishes.
Our first stop was ‘To Eat With Your Hands And Lick Your Fingers’ where we tried a number of different items, the first of which was the Spanish tortilla soufflé bites with green bell peppers and anchovies (€5 – 4 pieces). These were really interesting. Inside the thin crispy aerated bread shell was a ‘cream’ filling that tasted like an eggy tortilla. The filling was a little salty, but was otherwise really tasty with a beautifully smooth texture.
Meaty oysters were served with a tangy vegetable jus and goat’s cheese (€4.50 per piece). The oysters were beautifully fresh, the vegetable jus, made from spinach and white wine vinegar, was nice and tangy. The creamy goat’s cheese also added an interesting contrast to the oysters. However there were some pieces of crunchy, diced black bread which proved a little overpowering.
A bread roll stuffed with chorizo and topped with a runny quail’s egg and some dark trout caviar (€4) was heavenly. The bread roll was soft and warm, and the chorizo filling was meaty, moist and intensely flavoursome. Both the runny egg and the caviar added another dimension to the roll. It was a little messy to eat, but as a complete package, the roll was a joy.
Moving onto the ‘Roguish and Zingy’ section, we delighted in some Iberian pork shoulder with pea hummus and Iberian sauce (€16). This was the best dish of the evening. The pork was outstanding, perfectly cooked, juicy and singing with flavour. This beautiful piece of meat was truly memorable, and it combined beautifully with the sweetness of the pea hummus and couscous. This dish got a 5/5 from me!
From ‘Meseta And Sea’, we ordered a delightful sautéed baby squid, with a cauliflower purée and black pepper foam (€14). The squid was meltingly tender, and the flavours of the foam and cauliflower were lovely, both of which offered an excellent pairing for the squid. This was another delicious plate of food.
From ‘Just Around The Corner’, a much recommended oxtail stew with sea snails and polenta gnocchi (€14) was also tasty. The oxtail jus was rich and flavoursome with a sweetness to it that proved to be rather addictive. As for the oxtail itself, these were tasty and reasonably tender. Both the snails and gnocchi were clever accompaniments in the dish.
Dishes from ‘So Far and Yet So Near’ showcase more international flavours, and from here we had dish of roasted squab (€19). This was accompanied with some egg noodles (although these were described as ramen noodles on the menu) and spring mushrooms in an oyster sauce. The squab had been perfectly cooked, was juicy and really delicious. We didn’t enjoy the noodles however as these were very salty and overpowered the squab.
To ‘Desserts And Little Indulgences’, and the two we tried were nicely executed. A green tea mousse with green tea ice cream, pistachios and pieces of chocolate ganache cake (€7) was rich and creamy with a nice balance of green tea flavour. Finally a molasses sponge cake (€7.50) cut into bite sized pieces was moist and tasty with caramel overtones. Accompanying the cake was a pleasant caramelised banana ice cream, some crunchy coffee crumble that added a nice texture, and a strong rum gelée.
The food at Al Trapo was not only delicious, but fun and original too. Paco Morales’ dishes reflect outstanding techniques and know-how of haute cuisine to offer diners a wonderful, but informal haute cuisine experience. The dishes were very reasonably priced, and with the smart, yet casual atmosphere of the restaurant, makes Al Trapo accessible to all. The service was attentive and charming.
1) The Iberian pork was outstanding.
2) The Chorizo roll came a close second.
3) The squid dish was also exquisite.
1) The salty noodles in the squab dish. The squab was perfectly cooked, but overall this dish did not work.
2) The Spanish tortilla souffle bites were slightly over seasoned.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5
Prices: About €50 per head, excludes drinks and service.