Ivan Saez, like many children, was more interested in an empty box rather than the gift that it contained. They were those moments when one sees beyond, with the mind so open that it finds no limits and does not need to follow any current to enjoy. Iván grew up and all that extrapolated him to the kitchen, which he practices in the Desencaja restaurant, a pilgrimage center for those who look for the mystery inside the wooden box.
And with that box the experience begins. When you open it, comes a glass of cod brandade cream with spinach oil and false cod crust, almost a light foam that makes the brandade equally powerful but less heavy. As if it were Pandora’s, the starters follow each other. Some breadfruit bao filled with morcilla de arruí (a kind of mountain goat) are covered with their ham on a fake deer horn. Curiously, they are less strong than the usual blood sausage, with a similar flavor, creamy and with ham. And one cannot forget the ham croquettes, traditional and creamy.
We moved on to stronger dishes such as the tuna belly with parmesan royal, cream of marmitako and Ito togarashi (fine threads of Japanese pepper), an impeccable dish with prime belly, the parmesan shaved in a very fine royal that brings novelty and the marmitako stew that brings back memories of tradition. We can find more innovation in the oyster grill-tempered on pickled partridge, a dish for the brave. A sea and mountain that is most shocking and works wonderfully on the palate. It is the same with the Kokotxas (Spanish Cod) with a pil pil sauce, consisting of marrow and caviar it is very sweet, and well contrasted.
We leave the seafood to try the poultry egg at a low temperature with herb carbonara, fried torrenzos, and truffles, made to play with the textures, a very tasty avocado that uses good ingredients with good judgment. And we return to the ocean for a grilled Rubio with cream of seafood, sautéed cabbage and kale leaf, less impact of contrasts but a successful combination of textures and flavors and a top quality product that pulls the recipe book of the memory.
Now, returning to earth with courage, because the king of the house comes, a blue duck. This meat is powerful to rage. They serve it in two elaborations: the breast in two pieces simply marked and the bone deboned and stuffed with its foie. To accompany this intense meat come the sweet flavors of tamarind sauce and apple and pear cream.
After so, it is best to clear the palate with a red fruit ice cream with hibiscus, bergamot foam, quinoa and honey. Fresh and appetizing, perfect to lower the food, and if it is with a good sweet wine like Moscatel Xixarito, even better.
These are some of the dishes that are included on their tasting menus. That, undoubtedly, are the best option in Desencaja because the dishes change at pleasure and because although one comes out well served, the goal is more to be surprised by the cinegetic cuisine (shower in the art of cooking of big and small game) which Ivan can boast a lot. Well, Desencaja seems to introduce you in a packing box, complex techniques are practiced in the treatment of those delicate meats, it strives in the balance of flavors and at the same time in its potency and flaunts a creativity apart from the trend that, without a doubt, is appreciated.
Paseo de la Habana, 48. 28036 Madrid
Phone Number: 91 457 56 68 y vía WhatsApp 654 84 94 91.
Hours: Monday from 1:30 to 3:30 PM, and Tuesday through Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 PM and 8:30 to 11 PM, Closed on Sundays and Monday nights
Average Price: € 50 Tasting menus: ‘Viaje a la Luna’, € 36; Trip to the center of the Earth, € 56; Hunting menu, € 50; Owner of the World, € 80
Text: María G. Aguado
Photographs: Magdalena Puigserver