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Madrid City in English
Tuesday 21st of November 2017
Dylan Rice 1101 24th of July 2012 by admin 24th of July 2012
Mmmm, the rather classy Balzac
Winning Game

visits Madrid’s Balzac restaurant, where seasonal treats await

Having completed your tour of the Prado, the exit is often reached with aching feet and an empty stomach. Most people cross straight over Castellano, and head towards the bars and restaurants of the barrio de las letras, leaving the zone to the west, between the famous art gallery and the Retiro, overlooked. It’s certainly a more exclusive area, but if you’re looking for something a little special, there are establishments to be found, and the Balzac restaurant is a prime example.
    The key here is discretion, and it’s not often that you stumble upon a restaurant that has doors that serve different purposes. For Balzac’s, a first door leads into the salon proper, where guests may be subject to casual glances from fellow diners; a second leads to private dining rooms, where your entrance will be observed by no one other than the staff themselves. Needless to say, for my partner and I, discretion isn’t a necessity, and we are more than happy to enter through door one.
    Even in the salon however there’s an air of relaxed elegance and tranquility. Balzac has an excellent bodega, with a fine selection of DO wines of Madrid. Several are available from three wine-producing zones—Navalcarnero, Arganda del Rey and San Martin de Valdeiglesias. From the last of that list we opt for Tejoneras Alta Selección 2006 (Bodegas Nueva Valverde), which accompanies wonderfully our starter of homemade Asturian blue cheese and potato croquettes.
    Chef Gonzalo Omiste Ruiz specialises in seasonal cuisine, and a current fixed option at the Balzac is a Game menu, including courses of carpaccio de boletus con perdiz en escabeche suave (carpaccio of mushrooms with marinated partridge), pato azulón en dos cocciones con su asadillo y setas de temporada (roasted blue duck, twice cooked, with seasonal mushrooms) and royal liebre con salsa civet y pasta fresca (royal hare with civet sauce and fresh pasta). I choose the duck, which proves to be succulent and rich in flavour, whilst my partner decides on steak tartare con bastoncitos de patata frita  (literally, steak tartare with little walking-stick french fries), an equally melt-in-the-mouth selection from the a la carte menu. Aside from the excellent quality, the creative presentation of the dishes merits high consideration too.
    Having mentioned that discretion is not part of our itinerary, there is no need to have any reservations about dessert, and I immediately plump for a delicious soufflé pancake filled with fruits of the forest, a delight in hitting just the right note of sweetness, whilst my partner’s eye is drawn to a fig cake in chocolate sauce—smooth, moist and delectable.
    In view of its location and quality of food and service, Balzac is competitively priced, and an excellent choice for business and special occasions. The Game menu is a fixed price €40 plus IVA, which includes four courses and dessert. From the a la carte options, starters range from €10, and main courses from €18. Luxurious, but not entirely out of reach.

Restaurante Balzac, Calle Moreto, 7 Tel: 91 420 06 13. Mon-Fri, 2-4.30pm, 9-12pm; Sat, 9pm-12pm. See www.restaurantebalzac.net

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