The folks at Salmon Guru recommended TriCiclo for dinner. Unfortunately, even my Dora the Explorer map-tracing skills found us lost and missed our reservation. Luckily, we managed to find the darn place on our last day in Madrid and just about managed to score a table.
A passion project of three chef friends (Javier Goya, Javier Mayor and David Alfonso), TriCiclo is a restaurant born from the idea of having an establishment where they serve food from each of their culinary preferences. And whilst dishes promise to highlight fresh seasonal produce, the aim is to create food evocative of great moments. Like the time grandma taught you how to cook, or that great seaside holiday of your childhood.
The restaurant, in Barrio de las Letras, is homey. I do find it quite interesting how the kitchen is in the center of the whole restaurant, almost posing as an indoor quad. Tables are spread on the edges, but there is plenty of space to feel comfortable.
The menu offered dishes in small, medium, and full plates and it’s quite complex. There’s a section offering “market to table” dishes; a section for traditional flavours with a more gastronomic twist; and a section featuring fusion dishes. And because we couldn’t decide what to have, we opted for the degustation menu.
But first, a snack. Corn chips with guac and a bit of chilli powder. Frankly decent, but not entirely memorable.
The cold soup was, however, very delicious. And I wish we had more than just a few spoons of it. The flavour was similar to a Thai curry, but the coldness gave it a nice refreshing twist.
Next was a serving of lightly battered king prawns wish shiso and mango salsa. I like snacks like this, where you actually get to use your hands to get a mouthful of flavour and texture. I thought the shiso leaf would overpower the prawn, but it didn’t. The prawn was juicy and naturally sweet and the dipping sauce was pretty ace.
The ‘raw fish’ dish was actually a glammed plate of sea bream sashimi garnished with garlic chips, sundried tomato, some potato slivers and dressed with an oil vinaigrette and togarashi. I wish there had been more of it.
The next dish was a colourful salad of vegetables and smoked mackerel. This may have been my least favourite dish despite its display of creativity. I just found the flavours quite bland.
The next dish was possibly my favourite: hefty pork belly and squid, with a little green slaw.
Marinated in quasi-Asian spices, this reminded me of pork humba and/or adobo with its sweet-sour-salty triumvirate of flavours. The pork was so good that I frankly thought the squid was but a mere extra in all this. However, together they burst with complementary tastes and textures.
And that slaw had the perfect acidity and sweetness to calm the fatty pork. Me gustas mucho.
A fish dish was next, and it starred a generous piece of cod atop stewed vegetables, puffed rice and mint.
The fish flaked wonderfully, with its meat firm and soft to the taste. It’s harmonious to the stew, with everything tasting (and feeling) quite clean and refreshing. This dish was a nod to traditional Spanish flavours, and I was glad it came when it did.
Because oh, what came after was rich and naughty.
TriCiclo’s take on the traditional oxtail cannelloni was absolutely beautiful (and it definitely trumps what I had in Puerto Lagasca). The sauce was thicker and richer with cream, and the addition of mushrooms made it more earthy. The meat itself was melt-in-your-mouth serious, and the pasta was the same. My belly was absolutely full after this. But very happy as well.
Dessert was salted caramel ice cream with some mango / passionfruit ganache served with biscuit shards and cookie crumbs. Frankly, I find that tasting menu desserts aren’t all that.
Verdict for TriCiclo
I’m a huge fan of farm to table cooking and TriCiclo excelled here, giving punters what they’ve promised to do. Produce is clearly fresh, you can taste the distinct flavours of each element and it’s quite refreshing to be able to recognise what’s on your plate. Service is great, with staff knowledgeable of what they’re putting on your table. I’m not too keen on the layout of the restaurant per se, but that’s a little nitpicking here.
Go and get that pork belly plate in full raciones.
Calle Sta. María, 28, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Ave spend pp: €70