If you are a foodie, then you probably have heard of Chef David Muñoz’s restaurant DiverXO, Madrid’s only Three Star Michelin restaurant. You will probably also know that it is almost impossible to score a reservation, as it also was the case for me. I did the next best thing and went to his more affordable and more casual eatery StreetXO, located on the 9th floor of the El Corte Ingles department store.
This restaurant does not take reservations so be prepared to wait in line. The Spanish eat late, so go early. The restaurant boasts an exciting decor sceme, delicious cocktails, and intriguing Asian inspired food. The chef cut his teeth in London at NOBU and Hakasaan so he is familiar with Asian cuisine. The restaurant has a feel of street or market food. There are upturned crates, which serve as bar stools. Neon lights line the walls and there is a lovely outdoor terrace. The staff wears straight jackets, music pulses in the background and you feel the energy and “cool” vibe. There is an open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant and the best seats are those lining the bar so you can watch the show. Not only do the cooks prepare your food, they explain it and serve it.
Start with some awesome brioche rolls and make sure to save some to sop up the flavorful sauces. Go with an open mind and try something you normally would never have. For us, that was a Pekinese dumpling stuffed with a crunchy pig’s ear and drizzled with a strawberry hoisin sauce. Not only was the preparation of this dish, plus the presentation, like watching an artist make an abstract painting, it was also the best dish we had. The soup of Singapore Laksa had white king prawns, cooked over the Japanese robata grill, with coconut cream and pasta shells. Another standout was the steamed club sandwich, served on a bao bun, with ricotta cheese, and a fried quail egg. Suckling pig tacos, Korean lasagna, and a scallop dish were some of our other choices.
Some dishes were better than others, all are a visual joy, and one thing I can say is nothing is boring. It is the kind of food that has no limits, and much of the dishes are things you’ve never heard of before. This is street food with a twist, drawn from the inspiration of Asian food stalls. It was also a refreshing change from all the Spanish food we were eating everywhere else.
The dishes are creative, boldly flavored and fun to eat. I can also say the same thing about the playful cocktail program here. Drinking a cocktail has never been such fun.
They don’t serve desserts, but just outside the restaurant is an excellent artisanal ice cream bar called Rocambolesc, so you will be set. StreetXOis a dynamic place with crazy bites.