Before I decided what I wanted to see in Spain, the country with the second most UNESCO heritage sites, I’ve already planned what I wanted to eat. I knew there were great cured ham, cheeses and tapas; but I surely didn’t expect dining in the oldest restaurant in the world!This restaurant had been operating since 1735 and been mentioned by great authors like Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises (I must read this one day). Spanish painter Francisco Goya – who influenced Manet and Piccasso – even worked in this restaurant before being accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Now you know how long this restaurant had been standing!
You can’t missed this place. Eager diners arrived even before the restaurant officially opens at 1 pm. Flocks of tourist crowds this place for photos and tour guide makes it a pitstop to tell wonderful story of his place.
I’m writing in Westin Palace in the heart of Madrid. The soft bed is coaxing me to go to bed after a hearty dinner and Flamenco show at El Corral de la Morería. I shall keep it short as my intention is to merely immortalised my memories, not writing a piece of article fit for printing!
- We ordered the signature dish mentioned by Hemingway: suckling pig. I must say Asians might not be too impressed with this dish as it’s much like those you get at Chinese restaurants. Spanish rely not on spices but the freshness and natural flavour of quality ingredients.
- Other dishes we tried included lamb, french onion soup, gazpacho, clam soup and mascarpone with mango (all except the cold soup were recommended dishes)
- What we truly love was the clams cooked with rich broth. It was simply delicious! The dish reminds me of my favourite dish in Brussels which is the mussels at Chez Leon, but better.
I’ll love to talk about the ambience of the place (steep and creaky wooden staircase, old oil paintings, beautiful tinted window, crisp white tablecloth and in-house dining ware) and how it made me feel. But alas, during a holiday, time is never enough to document all the scenes and feelings they invoked.
I shall be content with this short pieces and end it with a quote seen on the window of Botin restaurant by Miguel De Cervantes (whose monument is right outside the Congress opposite of our hotel)
“Who reads much and walks much sees much and know much”
and a happy photo of me intoxicated with sangria and impressive history!