Calle Ponzano is a trendy street in Madrid packed with great places to eat. Another Danish blogger had recommended me to try a place called Sala de Despiece, but on the short walk from the metro station to Sala de Despiece, I passed several other restaurants, which looked very promising, so my iPhone is now full of notes of places to try, next time I’m in Madrid.
Sala de Despiece is best described as a modern tapas restaurant. The portions are tapas sized, and it’s bar seating only. When I was there, the restaurant was already full, and all the chairs were taken, so I had a stand-up lunch like most other people, who had managed to squeeze inside this tiny spot at lunchtime that day.
The menu was in Spanish only, and my Spanish vocabulary is rather limited, but I recognized tomate, pulpo and jamon, so that’s what I ordered. The food was served, when it was ready, and first dish out was a giant red tomato. I usually don’t get people raving over what seems to be really simple food, but this time, I was the raving one. This was the most juicy, most delicious tomato, I’ve ever had! It was peeled and sprinkled with salt, and from a little Google research, I learned that it’s apparently soaked in natural tomato juice and olive oil for hours, which gives it a juicy, but still firm texture packed with intense tomato flavor. The green stuff on top is crispy basil.
The next dish was a plate of jamón ibérico de bellota, which is high-grade jamon from acorn-fed pigs (bellota means acorn). At Sala de Despiece it came with a crispy white cracker and a fresh tomato salsa. Parma ham in all honor, but in my opinion, nothing beats a good, Spanish jamón ibérico.
The last dish to arrive at my table was the pulpo (octopus). Nobody does octopus as good as the Spaniards, and I had pulpo several times a day during my short Madrid visit. I must confess that I didn’t like the peppery tomato/onion sauce on top of Sala de Despiece’s pulpo very much, but the octopus without the sauce was very tasty.