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Madrid City in English
Tuesday 21st of November 2017
Marit Harm 1012 24th of July 2012 by admin 24th of July 2012
Stylish, modern decor at Amayra
A perfect match

tries a new menu at Restaurante Amayra, which looks to pair food and wine exquisitely

It is often said that good food merits good wine, and also that Spain is host to some of the best wines in the world. The recently introduced Cata de Vinos (wine pairing) menu at Restaurante Amayra supports both statements. The menu features five wines chosen by wine expert Miguel Ángel Flores expertly paired with five inventive dishes created by head Chef Juan Pedro Lorero. The combinations compliment each other excellently.
    The ambience of the restaurant is clean and sharp with subtle hints of stylish décor thrown in. White linen tablecloths, lighted glass cases displaying wines and desserts, embellished pillows lining the benched seats create a glamorous experience. The suit-clad staff function like clockwork: one to clear the table, one to re-set it, and most helpfully one to present the next pairing while matter-of-factly describing it.


Happy couples   
We began the almost two-hour lunch with an appetising treat—a miniature glass filled with melon cube and prawn, and butter and herb sauce complimented with a balsamic reduction. A selection of fresh breads was also offered throughout the meal, but I recommend saving room for the not-so-ordinary dishes that are to come. 
    The waiter then slowly poured a 2009 Llaume Llopart DO Cava to be paired with the next two courses. As the menu described the first as “ravioli”, my lunch date and I were both expecting some sort of pasta dish, but instead were each brought a plate with two delicious tempura croquettes filled with marrow, foie gras and a drizzle of a mango sauce and balsamic vinegar. The glass of Cava complimented the dish perfectly.
    The next course brought a hint of traditional Spanish culture to the table with a gourmet twist on the favourite ham, egg and potatoes combination. We were each served a martini glass layered with a potato puree, an egg cooked ever so slightly to encapsulate the yolk, caramelized onions and a glistening slither of quality jamón. The texture of the smooth potatoes, while maybe lacking a little salt, and runny egg yolk mixed with the sweet onions and tasty jámon confused the palate, but in a new and exciting way.
    To follow, a white wine, an Alargo 2009 DO Rías Baixas, was served with a carpaccio of red tuna under a cool sauce of diced tomatoes and onions. The dish was light and refreshing, reminding me more of summertime than the middle of November, but the chilled tuna taken with the crisp wine was spot on with regards to flavours.
    A dish that was a heavier and more reflective of the current season was the next to be savoured. Artistically placed in the middle of the gleaming white plate was a melt-in-your-mouth, juicy steak of pork (in fact cebón, a specially fattened pig) set atop a tomato and potato puree. However, the real star of the show was the slice of fried torta de la serena, a creamy Extremeduran cheese, that brought the whole dish together. A small bite of each element followed by a sip of the accompanying red wine, a full bodied Carril Cruzado 2005 DO Tierra de Castilla, really makes one appreciate the care it takes to create such a menu by understanding how different tastes work together to please the palate.


Sweet sensation
Up to this point, I had tried to eat slowly and savour each bite while enjoying this rare and luxurious experience. The portions had been the perfect size, not overwhelming, which meant plenty of anticipation for the final dish. The dessert wine alone (Teatinos 2007 DO Ribera del Júcar) would have been a satisfying and sweet end to the meal, but matched with a generous scoop of thick and creamy dark chocolate mousse surrounded by a tangy and syrupy strawberry puree, it happily ended with a warm, sugar and alcohol-fired glow.
    We emerged from the restaurant onto the hustle and bustle of Calle Alcalá. After wining and dining in the pleasant and peaceful Amayra and being waited on by observant and accommodating staff, returning to the real world was somewhat of a shock. The meal was truly memorable, and shows what can be achieved when extra care is taken to combine the best ingredients into creative and original fare. And, of course, when wine and good food are chosen by experts, it’s so much easier to appreciate the subtleties, flavours and distinctions. The set cost was €39, which for the quality and extent of the menu proved a very competitive price. If you’re looking for a special occasion or treat this season, it comes highly recommended.

Restaurante Amayra, C/Alcalá, 19 (via Hotel Regina). (Metro: Sevilla/Sol). Tel: 91 523 46 57. Sat-Mon, 1.30-4pm, 8.30-11.30pm; Sun, 8.30-11.30pm. www.restauranteamayra.com.

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