Meson Valle del Jerte

I once met a woman, no bear with me. This woman said “I don’t like menu del dias!” which to me is a bit of a strange thing to say….i can imagine someone saying “i dont like cheese” and not liking cheese….but if you said “I don’t like lunch” that, to me, is a bit weird. I have a feeling she didnt really know what a menu del dia was and was just repeating something she’s heard someone say, as she kept asking questions like “how many courses do you get?” “do we really get all this for 10euro?”
As i have mentioned, the menu del dia and our very way of life is being eroded and there are some areas of Madrid where it’s nie on impossible to find a proper menu del dia. and even in a civilised place like lavapies-sur (embajadores) they aren’t all over the place at weekends. So when you’re hungry, thirsty, tired and it’s a saturday and the grain of sands left counting down the lunch window are disappearing, it great when you remember a proper Menu Del Dia place is just around the corner.
So i ended up in Meson Valle del Jerte just opposite Frangus just below the rastro. Jerte is a small town near Caceres but for some reason this restaurant has some connection with Portugal. They sell Sagres and Pasteis de Nata, but maybe it’s just because its opposite Frangus and they buy from there.

Look at that! That’s a site for thirsty eyes….not only a full bottle of wine for one person, but a large bottle of Casera to mix with it. To be honest, i generally find myself rationing Casera as much as wine.

hell of a lot of seafood paella. i wont be going thirsty or hungry

Baked Bream (Dorada), the fish being baked atop the spuds and veggies. Lovely

oh and pudding. chocolate tart. Didn’t bother taking photo of dessert. it’s just dessert.

Old Skool no frills home cooked Menu del Dia. 14 euro (well, it is a weekend). I was able to get myself home and onto the sofa to siesta till half past seven half listening to a hiphop spotify playlist. Tell me if you had a better saturday!

La Falda de Lavapiés

Ok, sorry about the ranting and the non-Madrid based eating and drinking. Back in my comfort zone now. You fuckers didn’t want to hear me sing my truth anyway.

Now…look at this photo and tell me what problem you see

I won’t insult your intelligence. If you know anything about how to live life and aren’t clinically insane (no shame in it) it’s more than obvious.
The salad was really nice…i’m not ashamed to tell you I really like quinoa and also everything else it came with was calm…cucumber, tomato, red onion, a touch of mint, crunchy bread crumbs. shitload too much salt in it, though. I’d never imagined or seen people put salt in salad until I came to Spain. Love of salt may explain why hypertension is so popular in Iberia. Can’t just be me making it cool.
For the seriously slow or those that just don’t know anything about how to live properly, what do you notice about the main course (beef-burger made of castrated male cow, I had it well done so i couldn’t hear the screams of the vanquished, tortured, humiliated and murdered cow. was nice)

Yeah obvious, wasn’t it, And you knew exactly what was going to happen from the first photo.
To be honest I’ve not really seen much negative about the gentrification of this barrio. I bought the DaveCave© before gentrification started here….and it has mainly meant that shitty bars/cafes have become nice bars or less shitty bars. La Falda was an odd local, as it was the first time that a shitty old man became a hipster place briefly before turning back into a shitty old man bar and recently became a fairly decent gastro-bar and has been getting a good reputation for platos, pinchos and tapas. I have heard that in Malasaña, where gentrification and hipsterification has really taken hold, that it almost impossible to get a menu del dia. I certainly don’t want Lavapies to suffer the same fate. I don’t really get this thing of just giving you one glass of wine for a 3 course menu. This is Spain and cheap wine is cheaper than cheep, it’s cheaper than tap water. How can you make one glass of wine last 3 courses? You could hide it, you could keep it on the other side of the building, you could maybe order a glass of wine that you really don’t like (but I’m not sure that exists…outside of the UK or parts of what used to be the Ottoman empire)…it’s just ridiculously tight and means I’m much less likely to return here. It’s not that I need a whole bottle of wine. But I want a whole bottle of wine. Or at least not have to sip a glass of wine so slowly that you’d think it was the only drinkable liquid I had and I was trapped on some sort of lifeboat in the middle of an ocean surrounded by dave eating sharks.
So, get it together yo
here is their facebook page if you want more actual information….like the address, or photos…the sort of stuff that I’m way to busyés-626682344140720/

La Caleta

WordPress gives you various information about visitors to your blog: which pages they read and which country they were in and if they came by way of a google search, what they were googling that led them to your blog. The other day someone found my blog by searching pie drinking porn. I imagine he or she must have been very disappointed with my recipe for oxtail shepherd's pie. And people looking for hot lesbian badgers are going to be equally disappointed with this post.

La Caleta has been around for qute a few years but recently moved up the hill from Calle Tres Peces to Calle Santa Isabel and into a huge space that used to be an Indian restaurant. Calle Tres Peces is undergoing quite a change these days…what used to be the most depressing old man bar el aperitivo has been done up nicely in the way these places are transformed by dimmed lighting, half decent music and decent free tapas. Opposite is la infinita….book shop cafe with wifi. Don't order the house white…i have a glass of it in my hand at the moment and it's ropey to say the least.

Back to La Caleta. It's a gaditana bar which means it's a Cadiz themed place. Massive picture of Camarón on the wall as you walk in. Videos of Camarón on big screen at the back. If you've never listened to La Leyenda del Tiempo then I beg you to do so.

Cadiz is also famous for battered and fried fish which is served in paper. Sound familiar? Battering was invented by the Phoenicians apparently and Cadiz was a Phoenician city. There you go. I'm not sure when the English got into battering.


I order a racion of the bienmesabe. This is chunks of cazón, a sort of flat shark (rock salmon in english..if you've ever heard of that) which is cut into chunks and battered. The batter definitely has a bit of cumin in it. Bienmesabe is one of those things that is great when done well, and appalling when, more often than not, fucked up. A bit like the way a pint of Guinness can be the best thing in the world, or quite the opposite. I ordered it as I assumed it would be ther stock in trade as a Cadiz style bar. Very nice.

Not cheap though, that racion and a doble of beer was 13€

Now….to cruise the internet for sexy young ferrets covered in gravy


Torero’s pie

rabo de toro (1 of 3)I’ve decided to add recipes. I’ll tag them “eating in”

I wouldn’t describe myself as a gourmand but I know my way around a kitchen and enjoy cooking. I’m a gastrosexual like most British blokes around my age. Cookbooks are our Razzle, Nigel Slater our Linda Lusardi.

I’m always giving recipes to friends and colleagues, so I thought I might as well add some here. And it’ll be an outlet for my food porn pictures.

Torero’s Pie (Rabo de toro/Oxtail shepherd’s pie)

Neither British nor Spanish food has much of a reputation outside their own borders, so I thought as a British-ish man-cook who has lived in Spain for the last decade, I should marry two average cuisines and create something great. So here is my first attempt at Anglo-hispanic fusion food.

First you need to dust the bits of oxtail in flour and brown them in hot oil. Then remove them from the pot.

Chop onions, green & red pepper, a leek, some carrots, a wee stick of celery and soften in the pot, add salt and pepper and a couple of bay leaves

rabo de toro (2 of 3)When they’re suitable softened, add a couple of chopped and seeded tomatoes and cook for a bit longer.

Pour in about half a bottle of red wine and a mug of beef or veg stock. Over a high heat, reduce the liquid by about a thrid, then cover and turn the heat right down to the lowest it can go.

rabo de toro (3 of 3)Now it’s going to cook for about 5 hours. You can do it in the oven if yours is big enough…mine isn’t so I did it on the hob.

Now take the bits of tail out of the pot.

The next stage is up to you if you want to do it or not. Personally, I find it much tastier…but up to you. Take out the bay leaves and using a hand blender blitz the sauce.

Now pick the meat off the tail bones…it should falling off the bone by now. Shred it into bits using your hand or two forks. Make sure there’s no lumps of fat in there (unless you like lumps of fat). Put the shredded meat back into the sauce. If the sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like, turn up the heat until it is. You can keep the oxtail bones for stock if that’s how you roll.

Make mashed potatoes in the time-honoured way. When you’re happy with it…add some smoked paprika and a spoon or two of red pepper paste (it’s called carne de pimiento in spain, I believe in the UK you can get Chargrilled Red Pepper Paste in Sainsbury’s). Mix these into the mash.

Pour the meat sauce into a baking dish so the sauce is no more than half way up. or a bit more than halfway actually.

Start to cover the meat sauce with the mash. Easiest way is, using a spoon start at a corner and scrape the spoonful of mash on top then do another one next to it and work around the dish that way. Then fill in the middle. With a fork, lightly go round all of the topping making lines in it so that it looks like a ploud field and the mash is spread equally enough.


Brush and egg white over the top. Bung in the oven for 20-30 minutes so that the top is crispy and some sauce has bubbled out and made a mess of your oven. (don’t worry…the wonderful Elena cleaned my oven. I’d have just sold it and bought another one)


y voilá


Pastel de Torero/Torero’s Pie