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After an intense week of activities in Galicia it was nice to be able to get up at my leisure on Sunday morning. We had arrived in Madrid two hours later than scheduled on Saturday night, so didn’t actually get to the hotel until almost 11.00 pm. Luckily Andrew had recommended a nearby tapas bar, El Del Medio. I got in just before the kitchen closed and had time for a couple of tapas (hadn’t eaten since lunchtime!).

perfect smoked salmon on crispy toast with avocado, roasted vegetables

baked butifarra with mustard, mixed hot pickles, micro greens

On Sunday my train home was at 6.00 pm, so I made plans to have lunch at another place recommended by Andrew, Amano, which had just opened in August. When I went downstairs to have a bit of brekkie I ran into Rachel, who was leaving for Scotland that afternoon. After a couple hours chatting over coffee we checked out and then continued chatting for another couple of hours, this time over wine. It was great because although we’d been together for five solid days we hadn’t really had time to talk much. Anyhoo, by 2 pm we were both feeling a bit blurry so it was time to get our taxis, hers to the airport and mine to the train station.

Bag checked at Atocha, I made my way over to Amano for lunch. I was excited to try this place because Andrew had told me that it was run by Fran (former co-owner of Alabaster) and a chef that he’d partnered up with, so I was expecting good things. But I was still surprised by the amazing service. There was only bar space available when I got there, but I told them I lived in Sevilla and was used to sitting at the bar (Madrid is really more of a restaurant city). Then I asked for a glass of white wine and THIS happened…

The barman Javier had started explaining which whites were available by the glass and then said, “oh wait, this will be much better” and set up a mini tasting for me so I could make my choice. And this was even before I name-dropped Fran! Then I ordered a couple of tapas and they were fabulous…

croquetas: cheese, spinach, sun dried tomato and cocido

crispy corn tortilla, avocado, cured bonito, smoked chillis

By this time I had asked front of house guy José María if Fran was around and it turned out it was his day off. So I mentioned that I’d met him at Alabaster and that I was a sherry educator, and well, then I got a bit spoiled. José María brought out a very unusual dry fortified wine from Madrid (above) that was delicious, tasting of coffee and caramel, very smooth. And of course he “tested” me on a sherry, which I got wrong (!!!) saying it was almost an oloroso, though as it was an extra aged amontillado (+ 18 years) I was half right. And well, I just had so much fun with these guys and told them I’d be back with Andrew when I was back in Madrid again at the end of the month (more on THAT later).

front of house José María and barman Javier

After lunch I still had a bit of time to kill before heading back to the station, so decided to try and get my 10,000 steps done, and succeeded. Then one last stop before heading home because I can never leave Madrid without my favourite calamari butty (which also served as dinner) at El Brillante, across from Atocha Station.

Got home around 9.00 pm and when I opened the front door ALL THE CATS were sitting there waiting for me. A perfect ending to a wonderful day.