I'd read good things about Maricastaña, a trendy but relaxed restaurant in Triball, the up-and-coming corner of Malasaña where barrio bars sit alongside hipster hangouts. A softly-lit, inviting-looking place, Maricastaña opens all day every day, serving breakfast, lunch (the menú del día served on weekdays looks tempting for €11.50) and dinner. And on Sundays, they also serve brunch. We arrived at 12.45 and were able to get a table for 2 in the main room upstairs (there are also 3 tables downstairs, which is nice enough but windowless). However, it seemed there were quite a few tables reserved from 1.30 onwards, so if you fancy giving their brunch a go, arrive early or call to book.
Rather than Federal's à la carte menu, Maricastaña offers two set options at €15 each, the 'French' and the 'Iberian'. This style of brunch seems much more popular in Spain, and I must admit that I prefer the freedom to choose from a wider menu, but it can often be better value to go for this approach. The problem for me (as a non-meat eater who isn't mad on eggs) is that often the set options include things I'd rather not eat. Maricastaña's 'Ibérico' menu was a definite no for me, with its ham and cheese tabla and fried or scrambled eggs with bacon alongside pan tumaca (toasted bread with tomato), a basket of bread and mini croissants and a bowl of fruit with yoghurt and cereal. Much more suitable was the 'Francés': the same fruit/yoghurt/cereal combo, a banana and chocolate crepe, a mozzarella and crema de calabaza (cream of squash) sandwich, and bread and jam. Both options are served with orange juice and a coffee of your choice.
|Excuse the awful BlackBerry photo. It won't happen again.|