Let’s er…shake things up a bit.
Happy Monday foodies, hope you are all enjoying the April sunshine and are full of beans. Speaking of beans…what food can’t you stand? I mean what makes you squirm instead of swoon…what do you despise instead of dig?
I mean, everyone has a food tolerance limit, right? Some people don’t like certain vegetables, others are not a fan of certain meats, I’m personally not a fan of Twiglets…
Well, today let’s talk about a type of food that might make some people feel a bit icky. How do you feel about OFFAL? In case you are not familiar with this word – offal refers to the different organs of butchered animals that include the liver, kidney, brain, heart, throat, stomach and so on. Offal. In Spanish the word is somewhat more delightful = casquería. Has a nice ring to it.
Recently I got to go and check out the popular La Tasquería de Javi Estévez near Goya one Sunday after the basketball. It was a mighty interesting experience! Tasquería is a funky play on words / word mash up between Tasca (like a type of tavern) and Casquería (offal, as you now know).
The young chef Javi Estévez has a good reputation and appeared on Top Chef and was also subsequently named Relevation Chef at Madrid Fusion in 2016. In other words, not a bad person to try and get offal back into the popular domain. What’s more, shake off the image that offal is old-fashioned or “gross” and give it a nice elegant and modern makeover. For this reason, La Tasquería is a good place for offal first-timers and fans alike, or simply those with adventurous taste buds or just foodies who are up for trying something different. Different is good.
His restaurant was even picked up by The Guardian in January 2016 as one of the places to check out to see new top chefs in action.
- Cute place – quite laid-back, industrial style. Not too fancy-schmancy nor too shabby. Somewhere perfect in the middle.
- Actually smaller than you would expect. A bit more intimate. In fact, we even shared one of the high tables near the door with a group of 3 Tasquería first-timers trying out the taster menu. They were literally…so happy.
- Heavy menu – literally, not symbolically. Metal. Shiny. Could do some damage if you drop this…so don’t.
- Cool t-shirts. Are you an “offal” lover? Own tee with a hashtag, that’s pretty cool if you ask me.
- Well-divided menu, easy to navitage. Split by animal / type of food.
- Nice presentation for their dishes – a chic touch.
- Elegant almost bite-sized portions. Good for sharing but not good if you tend to prefer larger portions. For example in the photo below we have: Pigtail with smoked eel and cream cheese.
Not a bad start right?
Open your mind..and mouth
Below you can see some of the dishes we tried. To be honest it’s a good idea just to go with the offal flow, share some of Javi’s passion for this food that exists in other places, but not like this.
What’s more, they are also trying out new dishes so that loyal fans are always going back to see what else Javi can whip up. The bottom line is that here we are talking about a new and innovative take on offal and the flavours and textures WILL surprise you, trust me.
Highly recommend: The liver salad to start off with. It looks this good. Taste-wise – Tender, light, zingy. Nice touch with the pistachio.
Another delightful dish: beef tendon and cod tripe “fideuá”.
This fine-looking dish below is: Curried lamb neck. Yep, what a combo. The meat was divine and the flavours all worked wonderfully together.
Perhaps the most risqué dish: brains. To be a bit more precise – lamb brains with Meunière sauce and capers.
I have to admit that for me it was too much and I couldn’t get over the appearance and fishy taste and squirmy texture. Maybe that’s for my 10th visit! Each to their own right…but you have to admit that the presentation is excellent.
La Tasquería – Another way to enjoy fine dining. Are you game?
So, after all this, what do you think? Yay or nay? Let me know!
Whatever your opinion or experience with offal, one thing is clear though. That La Tasquería to Javi Estévez is one of the most original and exciting restaurants around and I’m sure he will continue to delight and divide foodies for a long time to come.
Calle Duque de Sesto, 48, 28009 Madrid. No seso…sesto 😉
914 51 10 00
Average price: €35
Love, Brainy Betsy x
Remember to check out my main Spanish blog La Guiri Y La Gata – click here.