Saturday, March 5, 2011

Le Cabrera review: Gastrobar in Madrid

Friday night, we had dinner reservations at Le Cabrera, a restaurant near the Chueca district in Madrid.  The look of the place was really cool, a bit art deco / retro / regency with lovely turquoise and gold toile wallpaper, angeled mirrored panel wall fixtures, gold gilded columns and random ironwork features.  The upstairs restaurant dining space was small with a lovely l-shaped lit up bar with gold paneling and one communal 10 person bar height table towards the front of the entrance.  Great cocktail list from the bar downstairs with classic cocktails as well as house specialty drinks.  It was a small plates menu and we asked chef Benjamin Bensoussan to select his favorite dishes that would go well with our cocktails.  The restaurant is associated with Sergi Arola, chef of the two star Sergi Arola Gastro restaurant also in Madrid.
Sardines Liminadas: Sardines in a passionfruit sauce.  I enjoyed the unexpected tartness with the oily sardines.  I love Spanish sardines and anchovies!
Pan con Tomate: my favorite Catalan classic, deconstructed for DIY
Tartar de buey: steak tartare - the steak was so silky smooth.  Hint of Asian flavor, perhaps some soy and ginger
Croquetas de jamon: best croquetas I've ever had; deliciously creamy inside and nicely fried and well-seasoned on the out
Salpicon de Viera: the scallops in this dish were sweet and refreshing.  Also liked that it was paired with some green lettuce leaves; I definitely miss my greens when traveling and eating out a lot
Ostra Escabechada: oysters in olive oil - I've never had olive oil with oysters; usually it's accompanied with acid, but the olive oil added an indulgent aroma, flavor and texture that I quite enjoyed
Deconstructed caesar salad; probably my least favorite dish of the evening, it was just too much dressing and creaminess
Arroz Cremoso: a sort of risotto with a nice seared piece of salmon on top.  I thought this was good too, the rice was perfectly cooked and comforting and balanced the slightly salty salmon well
Bombon de carne: my favorite of the night - juicy meatballs top with caramelized foie and truffle cream.  All three of us loved this dish
Dessert: in front was a deconstructed cheesecake with a chocolate cookie layer and berry topping and the back was a chocolate mousse over mango.  I thought the deconstructed cheesecake was genius and better than any cheesecake I've had, much fresher tasting.  The chocolate mousse was also good but not as memorable
Yes, the teacup (filled with booze) is fused to a wine glass stem.  We ordered an assortment of drinks, from gin and ginger based cocktails to a bunch of scotch based cocktails, as well as a tasty mojito and mango drink, all served in random vessels.
I thought the food was really good; it had just the right touch of inventiveness to keep it interesting, but still just tasted comforting, familiar and delicious.  I can still taste that meatball with foie and truffle, so wonderful!  Dinner was about 180 euros for 3 people including six 11 euro cocktails.  It wasn't the friendliest establishment (except for the chef, who was really nice), but it was our first nice sit-down meal in Spain, a precursor to the many memorable meals to come.

Sidenote: apologies if any of my descriptions of the dishes are slightly off.  I'm reconstructing this meal from memory and my lack of Spanish skills is definitely an impediment! Also, we didn't really get any explanation of what the dishes were, so these descriptions are from what we could discern and taste ourselves.

Le Cabrera
C/ Barbara de Braganza, 2
28004 Madrid
Tel: 91 319 94 57


  1. we're planning our honeymoon to madrid/barcelona in october--thanks for the post!

  2. Congrats and Spain sounds like a dream honeymoon spot! If you have time, stop by San Sebastien for some amazing eats in a lovely city. We flew into Madrid, took a train to San Sebastien (with a bus day trip to Bilbao), and then took a train to Barcelona, flying back to LA from Barcelona. The trains are a little long (~5 hours) but it was wonderful. Let me know if you need any more Spain tips, there are some more restaurant reviews on this blog. PS, I'm a big fan of your blog, I've come across it before, and I'm looking forward to trying some of your recipes.



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