Enxebre — Madrid, Spain

Enxebre — Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s heaving dining scene just got another boost with the opening of a restaurant whose Galician name telegraphs its homey gastronomic intentions, but not its unexpectedly contemporary interiors.

Meaning ‘authentic’ or ‘genuine’, the restaurant is a contrast to the Embajadores quarter, a sleepily old-fashioned neighbourhood near the Sunday street market, El Rastro. For this, applause please for the Madrid-based Studio Zooco that’s headed by Miguel Crespo Picot, Javier Guzmán Benito and Sixto Martín Martínez.

Several adjoining units have been cobbled together to form a spacious dining room, its size cropped through the clever insertion of sliding screens comprised of vertical and horizontal panels of braided string lattices. These literal walls of transparency allow the restaurant to be configured into zones for different sized groups, without fragmenting the space or sacrificing any sight-lines or light.

The building has been a Galician restaurant since 1979 and the architects have notated their design by incorporating a similar ribbon of timber that curls up and around the walls and flooring to create subliminal pathways that are bordered by concrete and hexagonal ceramic tiles.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, executive chef Domingo Urosa unfurls the complex flavours of Enxembre’s Galician specialties of seafood and rice, and creamy filloas, or sweet northern Spanish pancakes.

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