Table for 5, we have all have come to Madrid (some even from London), just for this long awaited dinner. 9:32pm, we have a table at DiverXo.
First thing you notice are the outfits the busy waiters are wearing, like those of prisoners, but purple; then you realize that they are all wearing round black glasses, but without lenses and purely for style.
We sit at the biggest table, in the middle of the room, and the show starts. The maître, dresses with the same outfit, but in red, and has black polished nails. He briefs us on what is about to unfold throughout the evening. Eight dishes but each one consisting of many small bites. Everything here is out of the ordinary, you eat with your hands, the waiters tell you in how many bites you have to eat each thing, and with which tool: fork, spoon, chopsticks, even spatulas (Le Creuset, of course!). Some of these bites are frozen “hurry up before it defreezes!” they say. We eat huitlacoche (corn fungus from México), and generous shavings of truffle too...
On the table (there are no plates and the food is served directly on a flat canvas - the eating tools are held in empty paint tins without labels), there are various things that are, actually, part of the first aperitif. A number of starters have quite an influence of corn, either popcorn, crunchy fried corn, corn powder… and all exquisite. When we finish, they feed us a spoonful of tomato ice-cream to refresh the palate. Next: fish/seafood. Crazy dishes, like a prawn head -in which the prawn essence has been infused with saffron and fried garlic- which is hanging from the lamp ceiling on a fishing line, you pull it from the string and eat it – all of this standing up. The following one is our favorite: a whole fish bone, the size of your finger, deep fried and served on a brushstroke of Jamaican pepper. How can a simple fish bone be sooo delicious??
Throughout the evening the waiters change, all of them are very able, young and very friendly. Everything here is fun, there are mirrors everywhere, sculptures of half pigs flying and hanging from the wall, big colorful butterflies, giant ice-cream cones which are used as ice containers, bottom half of male mannequins with tall hats which are, in fact, coat hangers, and everything is very, very white.
Now the curtains close around us, and they bring to the centre of the table a loudspeaker with an Edith Piaf song. They bring a metal dome plate to each of us. One waiter per diner. While we wait we are transported to France. They serve us a Bordeaux in our gold rimmed glasses. After a few seconds they lift the domes and on the plates there are 12 small bites, arranged like the numbers on a clock. They place the baby lamb shin in the centre of the plate. You don’t know what to eat first, everything is really nice. We are totally amazed with the creativity of all dishes. At the beginning it was suggested that we choose this menu because the other one, more expensive too, would take over 3 hours. But 2 ½ hours have gone by and we have already finished 2 bottles of Costers del Segre white, by the way, what a great selection of wines – it is fantastic to see a range of non-commercial wines and to be able to try new things.
The desserts are coming, first one prepared with violet flavours…. The next one is a lemon candy floss… Wow! It is taking us back to Memory Lane!!!!!