All the way to Spain, my foodie friend Brett and I fantasised about bustling tapas bars serving up small plates of melt-in-mouth tortillas, patatas bravas, pimientos de padrón fritos and fresh veggie paella. On our first day in Madrid, we learned a valuable lesson: when the guidebook says “Madrileños don’t eat dinner until past 9pm”, that literally means “it will be hard to get a meal before 9pm.” And so that is why, at 4pm on our first afternoon in a new city, we stood on a street corner and ate chunks of bread dipped in a tub of cream cheese. It was disgusting.
Anyway, between mooching around El Rastro market and sampling as many mojitos as humanly possible (all in the name of science), we eventually got into the swing of tapas, but in between devouring salty plates of carbs with fresh fizzy lager, we also dipped into some Spanish vegetarian restaurants.
Excuse the appalling quality of the photo, it’s just the way I roll. Anyway, we enjoyed our dinner at Yerbabuena. In typical tourist fashion, we arrived early for most Madrilenos. We were given a free amuse-bouche of chilled gazpacho soup and a little slice of tortilla. I opted for the cannelloni, whilst my friend had veggie paella. We both agreed the other person’s dish was better and swapped halfway through the meal. The paella was delicious and citrussy with loads of fresh veg; the cannelloni was a little heavy for the hot weather, but I love the clash of spring green and sunshine yellow. On the other hand, the wafer-like parmesan crisps and cherry tomato garnish kind of makes it look like a savoury ice cream sundae. Weird.