Chispa Bistró, the new surprise restaurant in Chueca

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The proposal of this small place with only nine tables is honest, 'flexible' and (very) original. It is led by two young chefs, Juan D'Onofrio and Gabriel Sodré, and is one of the most interesting openings of the season

Original, honest, different and risky. Many adjectives fit into Chispa Bistró - we could say that they are all good - but perhaps what is most notable about this establishment on Barquillo Street is that sitting at your table has a surprise effect that not all openings in Madrid have. Juan D'Onofrio (24) and Gabriel Sodré (34) They are the two young chefs behind a concept that is essentially "flexible", with a menu in which there are main dishes - not many, about ten - that will vary monthly according to seasonal products, cheeses, desserts and some off the menu. always interesting. From here, the diner decides In what order do you want to eat the menu?.

Argentinian the first and Brazilian the second, they have cut their teeth in outstanding kitchens around the world. They define their proposal as «open, international and shared kitchen«. That translates into a trip that starts from the Mediterranean, goes to Japan - that bite of tuna with sunomono (Japanese cucumber salad) -, to Mexico, the Basque Country and even to New Zealand. When preparing the dishes they work the ember, with a prominence of the cured and pickled foods and special care when preparing the ingredients. Of course, without frills and with the product as the main protagonist.

Among the main ones, the pastrami with ossobucco sauce, which is a delight; the tuna already mentioned that they cure and without a doubt you have to try it on your first visit; the salt cured shrimp with tiger's milk and corn and the bourbon sweet potato gnocchi with Idiazabal cheese, another essential. The egg with mushrooms and zucchini gazpacho were pending for the next visit; The pork jowl and the heart are grilled with green curry and tomato.

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The cheeses, the other pillar of the menu, Poncelet serves them every week and that is always a guarantee. On the menu the day we visited they had Olavidia and Fuero, both goat, and Munster, Comte St. Antoine, Taleggio, and Colston Basset Shropshire, cow. The recommendation is to order six dishes from the menu for two people (average ticket: 60 and 70 euros). It is worth leaving room for the desserts (there are only three) and the coffee, by the way, is a specialty. 

The kitchen seen from the space, one of the attractions of the place, allows you to see the team in action. “We wanted to make something welcoming in every way,” says Sodré. There are nine tables -about 32 diners-, all round by their decision and against what the architects said (to make more use of the space), and it has a private room. The decoration, flirtatious and modern, conveys an industrial air where exposed brick is mixed with Nordic-style chairs. The design is signed by the D12 studio.

This tandem met at the Bellart Cooking and Pastry School in Barcelona.. D'Onofrio's career, after completing his studies in cooking, included Mina (One Michelin star. Bilbao) and also Santceloni (Two Michelin stars. Madrid), before working alongside chef Dante Liporace (ex ElBulli) at the Mercado de Liniers restaurant (Buenos Aires). Sodré was self-taught for a time before training professionally; He has cut his teeth in the kitchens of Enigma (one Michelin star), the three-starred Celler de Can Roca and Glouton (Belo Horizonte), by chef Leonardo Paixão. From all this professional experience and everything they have tried while traveling the world, they have obtained the basis to start their adventure in the capital.

"At first we thought of opening in Barcelona, but finally we decided to make the leap to Madrid," says Sodré. It has been a year and a half of Teams meetings to define the idea, which always included a high-quality wine list in the script. They have more than 140 references and Sommelier Ismael Álvarez now joins the team, who moves from Bilbao to Madrid to participate in this project, undoubtedly one of the most interesting of the season.

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