El Jardin Secreto
Situated opposite the Conde Duque Cultural Centre, El Jardin Secreto is one of Madrid’s popular if eccentric restaurants, having opened its wooden double-doors to the street to create a romantic nocturnal terrace complete with candle-lit tables for two. The “Secret Garden” may not have a garden but it’s the magical decoration that makes it stand out.
A mix of Indonesian wicker chairs, Jaipur silk drapes, Sybille candles, ornate Indian chests and Ostrich egg lamps – all of which can be purchased by diners in February or November when everything is sold off in a giant street sale. Sweet toothers will be pleased to know that the lunch menu, created by the owner Luis Marcoa, was inspired by the movie “Like Water for Chocolate” and features a particularly indulgent white chocolate mousse with cherries and a plethora of other sundry sweet delights.
An exotic, ever-changing menu may include smoked Swiss reindeer, Breton flower salads or rose-flavoured soups. A good selection of pastries such as peta-zetas (rose petal pizzetas) and home-baked cakes are on display. Extensive tea and coffee menus include Ceylon teas, a powerful Irish coffee with whipped cream and mint tea poured from a height, Moroccan style.