This two-star Michelin restaurant in Madrid offers the perfect fusion of cuisine and smoke.
We love to travel and we love to eat. We’ve been to more than ninety countries and have taken around sixty food tours, which are a terrific way to get to know a culture. We don’t typically eat at Michelin restaurants due to the high cost and the difficulty in securing a reservation. But every now and then we become so intrigued by a restaurant that we just can’t resist.
Such was the case with Smoked Room Madrid, which has two Michelin stars and is famous for receiving its stars only six months after opening. I am writing a review because this turned out to be a great experience and one of our all-time favorite meals.
Arrival at Smoked Room Madrid
We walked from our airbnb in Malasaña and found the restaurant very easily. It’s located in the Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid, but has its own entrance, a hint to its exclusivity. Upon arrival, the hostess ushered us down the very dark stairway to the small restaurant space, which consisted of six seats along the back wall facing down to the open kitchen below. There are an additional two tables of four. A large mirror was situated above the kitchen so you could easily see what was being prepared. The sommelier greeted us right away and took our drink order (a glass of red wine and a beer).
Through the course of the entire evening, we were presented dishes by a variety of staff, all of whom spoke excellent English. This had been a concern since our Spanish is very basic; a multi-course dinner in a bespoke setting with a vast array of unusual local ingredients might be quite confusing without the ability to communicate, but this was not a problem. Their presentations and comments only enhanced our enjoyment of the dishes.
The Fire Omakase Menu
Chef Dani García carefully blends his expertise of Andalusian cuisine with Japanese ingredients and technique, all enhanced with smoke. According to the restaurant’s website, “Culinary technique and mastery are an essential part of every dish, where smoke is the seasoning and the finishing touch for every piece of meat, fish, seafood or vegetable.”
The Fungus Among Us
We arrived during black truffle season. This pungent ingredient featured in several of the courses, including the butter served at the beginning with a small loaf of brioche. The waiter expertly shaved the fresh truffle in front of us. He then incorporated it into the butter with mortar and pestle as he chatted with us.
Shrimp from Motril with Noisette Butter and Smoked Pepper
The first course to arrive was Shrimp from Motril with Noisette Butter and Smoked Pepper, garnished with pink flowers. These shrimp are so fragile that they are served raw or very lightly cooked. With the butter and yuzu, they melt in your mouth. Sublime.
Seaweed Stew, Smoked Caviar and Mint
Next was Seaweed Stew, Smoked Caviar and Mint, again garnished with tiny flowers. Salty, smoky, herby. Delicious.
Nitro Tomato with Smoked Eel, Red Bell Pepper Caramel
Next was this charming dish served in a gleaming bowl evoking an oyster shell: Nitro Tomato with Smoked Eel, Red Bell Pepper Caramel and “Ajo Blanco Malagueño.” It features a beautiful white nitro “tomato” created with liquid nitrogen and it was so creamy and delicious.
Smoked Hamachi, Roasted Tomato Essence and Yuzu
This dish is made with tomato water macerated for 12 hours with red onion, ginger, coriander, lime and chillies. Like the previous dishes, this one offers several different textures and flavors that marry beautifully – a jellied base, tender pieces of hamachi, edible flowers and a frosty granita. It was cold and refreshing.
Charbroiled Clams in Tosatsu Beurre Blanc and Fresh Wasabi
The waiter introduced chopsticks, then ground fresh wasabi root in front of us as he prepared this rich creamy dish. The clams were succulent and rich, and the sauce was spicy and savory with a hint of tang from the peppers.
Charcoal Baby Eel, Vin Jaune Velouté and Hazelnut Praline
Baby eels are a delicacy in Spain. The chef prepared them here like a pasta, tender and delicate, with a creamy sauce, hazelnut foam and a sprinkling of blue flowers.
Dry Aged Wild Turbot, Grilled Green Tear Peas and Pork Belly Dashi
They grilled the turbot perfectly and the pork belly dashi was unctuous, but the real stars of this dish are the delicate tear peas, a special variety of pea grown in the Basque region that reportedly sells for $350 per pound.
Smoked Wild Hare “Anolini” Consommé and Fresh Herbs
The next dish was a soup. Anolini are a filled pasta from Italy; these were stuffed with smoked hare mortadella.
Duck with Carrots, Sake-Infused Crepe Suzette and Yuzu
The next course was the heaviest. The duck itself was our least favorite element of the night. Although it was quite good, we didn’t care much for the sauce. However, the crepe was delicious, as were the carrots.
A Trio of Desserts
The next three courses were desserts and this one was our absolute favorite: Japanese Dried Persimmons with Comté Cheese and Black Truffle. They dry these persimmons for exactly 100 days, then through some culinary wizardry they fill them with a blend of comté cheese and truffles, chill them, then slice them. These were awesome.
The second round of dessert consisted of a blend of orange and pumpkin: Charcoal Pumpkin and Mandarins. It included a purée of chargrilled pumpkin, some mandarin sorbet, and a semi-circle of caramelized pumpkin seeds. It was a great blend of textures.
The last course was a dessert incorporating eggplant and topped with a chocolate tuile leaf: Grilled Aubergine, Chocolate and Miso Ice Cream and Melipona Honey. Although it wasn’t our favorite dessert, it was solid and a lovely way to end an amazing and truly enjoyable dinner.
Making a Reservation at Smoked Room Madrid
You can check Smoked Room’s availability and make a reservation here. It requires you to prepay the €200 per person price for the Omakase (14-course tasting menu)(not including drinks). Right now in the middle of March (not high season) I see availability for lunch and dinner later this week. You can only book online during the current calendar month, so try to book your reservation on the first day of the month you wish to dine in.
Summary: Smoked Room Madrid | Fire Omakase
We loved our experience at Smoked Room Madrid. The staff were charming and enthusiastic, and explained very clearly what we were having, chatting with us without seeming rushed. We appreciated the careful pacing of the dishes, the clever and artful presentation, and the creative use of fresh ingredients from all over Spain blended with classic Japanese elements. The use of smoke as an essential ingredient to each of the dishes really tied it all together.