The InterContinental Madrid and its restaurant El Jardín are celebrating. The capital’s first major international hotel is commemorating the 70th anniversary of its opening in 2023 with important plans for the future, including a major overhaul of its facilities and the installation of a rooftop swimming pool.
Located on Paseo de la Castellana, the InterContinental Madrid is one of the capital’s most emblematic five-star hotels. Since its opening in 1953, it has also been positioned as a benchmark for experiential haute cuisine: its brunch -every Sunday of the year-, its dinners with live music, its days dedicated to the cuisines of the world or its grand gala dinners on special dates are already legendary.
The hotel’s head chef, Miguel de la Fuente (1979), from Madrid, is responsible at the InterContinental’s El Jardín restaurant for a Mediterranean-Spanish offering with international touches: a product-based, honest and non-conformist cuisine that he himself defines as “geographical gastronomy”. The chef has been in this position since 2011. “Working in a hotel like this, with a lot of relations with embassies and a large international clientele, gives me the chance to travel and get to know other gastronomic cultures”.
The menu, which changes four times a year, is based on seasonal, zero-kilometre raw materials from the best suppliers.
Now, with the arrival of the good weather, the terrace of El Jardín reopens like every season -which will last until autumn, as long as the weather permits-, a quiet garden that makes us forget the rhythm of the capital.
Elegant and with an attentive service, but with no restrictions. It is structured on two levels and has lush vegetation, geometric murals in pastel colours suspended from its façade and a fountain-cascade featuring a large art deco sculpture by the sculptor Ángel Ferrant, original from the hotel’s refurbishment in 1953.
At the time, this unique urban refuge was Ava Gardner’s favourite spot for an early morning breakfast or a cocktail on summer evenings. Its cool summer evenings also hosted a flamenco stage with exceptional spectators: Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra or Gary Cooper…, among others. Today, its dinners are still enlivened by live music, quiet piano or violin recitals.
New seasonal dishes
With the arrival of the spring larder and the arrival of warmer temperatures, the menu is starting to lighten up. As classic starters, it offers a fine cream of salmorejo with tuna belly and sweet chilli peppers from Ibarra; artichokes confit in olive oil with a veil of Iberian jowl; and honeyed croquettes of carabineros, kewpie, nori and tobiko wasabi.
One of the most celebrated novelties is the steamed vegetable korma with curry, coconut milk and rice with hints of the Orient. Among the salads, the sweet potato salad with spinach leaves and a light dressing of yoghurt, mint and ras-al-hanout; or the roasted avocado with spider crab salad, with a powerful flavour. The red tuna tartare with citrus dressing and edamame also stands out.
The famous beef steak tartar, with smoked dressing, pickles and fried yucca, and the supreme of free-range chicken in mustard and tarragon sauce, with morels and roasted onions, are back for the season. The meat section is rounded off with beef sirloin from the Sierra de Madrid in red wine sauce and grilled beef tenderloin with country potatoes fried in olive oil and mojo picón. Fish lovers can opt for its emblematic grilled rapito with thyme potatoes; the sea bass loins in meunière sauce; the hake on a skewer in short broth or the turbot loin with panache of vegetables in butter.
The wine list of El Jardín, with some 60 references, is a complete tour of the main Spanish designations of origin, with some less common labels for lovers of pleasant discoveries. The selection of sparkling wines also stands out: cavas and champagnes from the best houses.
Brunch, executive menu and new working lunch
The InterContinental’s gastronomic offer is completed from Monday to Friday with an executive menu (38 euros per person, wine cellar not included, available for lunch and dinner), which changes weekly, and with an interesting working lunch offer, between 12 and 4 pm, which for 20 euros includes wifi connection, a light dish and a drink, in a pleasant setting for an informal lunch during working hours.
Not forgetting its Sunday brunch (price €83 per person, drinks included), one of the most popular in the capital: the feast takes place in a luxurious setting -under the central dome of the hotel, accompanied by piano music- and has a formidable offer of more than 200 references, in an open buffet format. It offers from pâté and cheese platters to the best seafood, Iberian cured meats, fish, meats, sushi prepared live, pasta, rice dishes, miniature desserts, homemade cakes, chocolate fountain, etc. For children (50% discount) there are baking classes; and for adults, the event is rounded off with experiences such as tastings and cocktail masterclasses. More than a hundred people attend every Sunday, making this a Sunday event not to be missed.