Asian cuisine-geeks, you’re in luck, Soy Kitchen is going to blow your mind. Julio is in da’house . The greatest advice I give everyone who sets foot in this restaurant is “do not tell anyone, I do not want this restaurant to blow up! (with popularity)” Too late because we now have the scoop in Plateselector:
Julio (Yong Ping Zhang), Pekingese in origin, is the owner, chef and creative mind behind the restaurant next to the Plaza de los Mostenses that goes unnoticed by its aesthetic typical Spanish style. Although they have beers and chicken wings as tapas, do not let its appearance fool you, here what is served is actually oriental style food food culture in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. If you call Julio on his personal mobile you can make reservations for a “customized” lunch or dinner. He has no menu, so you have to have faith in him. The procedure can be compared to the great Iñaki Camba when he asks “are you hungry or do you just have an appetite?” Julio will ask you if you like spicy, if you’re a vegetarian, what you like and what you hate all at once and have it ready in his mind what he will cook you. He will even purchase the ingredients that day.
Julio can not stop creating, he simply can not. When asked what to call his kitchen, he just tells you “It’s Oriental” and tells you the origin of the ingredients he uses, from Hong Kong, Mostenses Market, Usera and Tetúan. Cooking can take time, as in his spicy piglet cooked with garlic and coconut milk at 80 degrees for 7 hours, and he can recite recipe after recipe in the blink of an eye. While talking he is already creating new recipes. He begins to explain them and little by little gets lost in his own creativity the cause of each plate’s excellence. He has been in Spain for 10 years and before Soy Kitchen, he opened a steakhouse in Pamplona, where he was awarded the prize for best tapas in 2008 for his monkfish with artichokes and shrimp-and after studying to become a chef in Hong Kong decided to settle in the capital Madrid. “Madrid is like Beijing, with open people who know and are interested in food,” he says excitedly.
His list of creations is long and constantly growing. One day some of the freshest prawns with wakame on top of a salmon tartare with quail egg and a sauce with fish eggs, artichokes with a delicate shrimp, cream sauce with prawns, a steamed duck with a tender bamboo covered with a sesame soy sauce and touchi; cheek with Kung Pao sauce that melts in your mouth and the spectacular sea bass with curry, seaweed from Thailand, chives, and eggplant and mango bathed in Malibu rum plated and cooked on the table at the moment. Tomorrow the menu is another story.
His intention is to restore and expand the space he now occupies, look for another 200 square meters with an open kitchen and be the first to open a chain of Asian restaurants in Spain. While making plans for world domination the modest Soy Kitchen is making culinary wonders.
Interestingly Julio’s surprises never let up. Ask what’s behind the door in the small room in the back. Upon discovering, you will find something that Big Pimpin’ pales in comparison to. And you can have your dinner there.
Ladies and gentlemen, a star is born.
Average price: € 20-25
Only with reservation to 693,947,458
Monday to Sunday from 11am to 2am.
Text: Paula Movil
Photographs: Diego Etxeberria
Translation: Brett Piron