Malasaña is my next favourite barrio in Madrid, after Chueca. It’s more studenty and hipster whereas Chueca is a mix of avant garde and traditional.
The two neighbourhoods are separated by Calle de Fuencarral. At 78 Calle de Fuencarral you can see the stunning doorway of the Museo de Historia de Madrid, www.madrid.es
Here are a few of my favourite places to eat and drink in the area:
Albur (Intermediate A), 15 Manuela Malasana, www.restaurantealbur.com
I adore Spanish rice dishes and Albur is a great place to have them. However they take a while to make and I made the mistake of coming for lunch when I was short of time and I ended up shovelling my meal down in less than ten minutes. Not great for digestion.
I had the Arroz de Sepia, Butifarra y Verduras Asadas; rice with squid, Catalan sausage and grilled vegetables (skinned red pepper and aubergine). Although I don’t usually mix seafood with meat, the flavours were really good (B+).
The house red, Cepas del Bierzo, is pretty decent for a table wine (B). Total cost €50. A revisit is required.
Ojalá (Intermediate A), 1 Calle San Andres, grupolamusa.com/restaurante-ojala
This is my favourite in the small group of five La Musa hipster bars. I like it because the service is good and the food and drinks are great (fashionable ‘cocina creativa’), plus the basement has been turned into a beach! You can take your shoes off and feel the sand under your feet if that is your inclination.
I had the Banh Mi for €6 which was excellent (A+) even if it was nothing like the original Vietnamese/French fusion sandwich as it was made with soft Chinese-style dumpling dough rather than a baguette.
Like many trendy places in Spain they have an extensive G&T menu. I had the Seagram G&T for €7 and the Martin Miller G&T with cinnamon sticks (pictured) for €9, both excellent (A) and served in glasses the size of goldfish bowls.
Definitely somewhere I will return.
Musa Malasaña (Intermediate A), 18 Calle de Manuela Malasaña, grupolamusa.com/restaurante-lamusa
Another member of the hipster La Musa group, darker, quieter and more romantic than the bustling Ojalá, but still another good spot for ‘cocina creativa’.
To begin I had the Jabali con Alioli de Miel y Sobrasada, or wild boar with honey alioli and raw pork sausage, for €6. It was good (B) but if the website is correct, it’s longer on the menu, perhaps because it’s not particularly pretty to look at.
I was intrigued to know what the Empanadillas Japonesas were (€6) so I took the plunge only to discover that they were normal Gyozas (A) which are fried dumplings filled with pork mince and spring onion.
I also had Berenjas Fritas con Melaza, or deep fried slices of aubergine drizzled with molasses (€3.25) presented in a ceramic chip cone. Love the concept (A+).
I continued my exploration of their G&T menu with a Bulldog G&T for €8 and Tanqueray G&T for €9 (both B).
The soundtrack was a fine selection of House music (A). Service was pleasant again. I’d love to go again, preferably with some company.