Rating: 8 / 10
A friend in need is a friend indeed, but a friend who recommends an epic Mafé spot in Madrid, is better.
Not to be outdone by the plentiful amazing food I had enjoyed in Seville, courtesy of the amazing tips from my friend Irene; she also happened to write a short list for Madrid since I would only stay 3 nights. Top of the list was the rather odd instructions to go to "Colores near Anton Martin market for tasty, cheap, authentic Senegalese food".
Never one to turn down a recommendation from someone I whole-heartedly trust, I headed there day 1 for lunch.
A rather odd facade gave way to a small dining room awash with tempting smells wafting in from the small kitchen. A cheery lady greeted me and showed me to a spare table and produced a menu. I must admit I am not an expert on Senegalese food but I do know Mafé, and they had it on the menu. No brainer!
"You also want spicy sauce?"
"Oh yes I do"
My plate came out bursting with deep yellow love. A spoon nestled beside with a picante home-made sauce to slather on top. I emptied the spoon in ravishing flicks of a knife before asking for a refill. Spoon's armed I dug in with ferocity. A complex, creamy, spicy, comforting hit of deeply flavoured curry with the underlying peanut sauce and overtones of fresh chilli caused me to pause for a second and wonder if I had ever tasted this dish before. I hadn't.
The veal meat was achingly tender, the carrots and potatos adding that element to a curry dish that I personally love. However, to be totally honest here the rice was astounding. I had not had such tender, fluffy, well-cooked rice in a while. It perfectly carried the rich flavours and gave some relief to the heavy taste of the Mafé itself.
I immediately sat there in panic that I only had a couple of days in Madrid and a long list of other places to eat, but I truly, truly wanted to eat this again at the nearest opportunity.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"