by Faye Davies
Since the demise of the much-loved Bluefish a couple of years ago, the word ‘brunch’ in Madrid has become synonymous with mounting gloom. Take Café Oliver, for instance. Michelin-starred, and charging 24€ for their offering, it would be natural to expect from them something in the region of culinary delight.
Forget it. I’ve been twice. My first visit inspired only vague disappointment: small portions, stinginess with re-fills, average food, and just-about adequate service. My second visit, more recently, provoked outright fury. After an underestimated (on their part) wait of forty minutes, it took a further ten for them just to take our order.
A bad start to a soul-draining experience. For want of space, I’ll be sparing with the details. Suffice to say I’ve had better hamburgers from street stalls, better pancakes from economy supermarkets, and better service in government buildings. The fruit juice had run out; the waiter brought the dregs of someone else’s honey instead of my maple syrup; the coffee arrived lukewarm… You get the picture.
Hungry, angry and tired, I would have walked out without paying had my companion not had more compassion and class. My only consolation is I do know one wonderful brunch establishment, which I’ll be writing about in the very near future. Watch this space – and feel free to write in with your own recommendations.