Restaurants of the World: Numa Pompilio – from Madrid with Love
April 25, 2018
Standing proudly as the capital city of Spain since the 17th Century, it is difficult to imagine a locale capturing the spirit of Iberian culture better than Madrid. Despite this, the beautiful city remains one of the most multicultural regions in Western Europe, which is reflected in the cuisine available. Every palate is catered by the many and varied restaurants of Madrid, and my own craving for a delicious Italian meal was more than satisfied by the beautiful Numa Pompilio.
Located in the celebrated setting of Calle Velazquez, Numa is a comparatively new addition to the city’s dining options, having opened its doors under a year ago. Named after Numa Pompilio, who sat on the throne of Rome as an early king and now oversees the restaurant in the form of a bust, stepping through the doors of Numa is like travelling directly into the heart of Tuscany.
The unmistakable aroma of Italian cuisine cooked to perfection greeted me once I arrived, and the restaurant itself hosts a beautiful garden space, designed to remind a visitor of the Italian city that inspired the decor. Naturally, there is also the essential terrace space that no restaurant in Madrid would be without, and it was here that I was offered a delicious glass of French champagne by the attentive waiting staff. This set the tone well for an effortlessly classy dining experience, in a restaurant that ensures that food and drink are paired to perfection.
My party and I were seated in a lovely spot, a little away from a well established olive tree that, which enabled us to watch the team hard at work in the open kitchen. Naturally it’s the food that matters most in any restaurant, and I am delighted to say that the menu at Numa is something special, and has clearly been crafted by food lovers that have travelled all over the world. Even though this is an unmistakably Italian-focussed restaurant it feels completely at home in cosmopolitan Madrid, with foods from all over the world – including London and New York – available for selection. Even the wine list is so comprehensive, any connoisseur could not be anything but impressed.
We started our delicious meal with Vitello Tonato, which comprised of cold cuts of finely sliced veal alongside tuna sauce and fresh pickles. I was initially sceptical of ordering such a dish thanks to the viewpoint that I could prepare something similar myself at home, but it was undeniably delicious and packed with delicate finishing touches. Veal is a little tough, which means that it’s rarely my first choice of meat, but hats off to Numa; these flavours were fused to perfection, and the whole dish was melt-in-the-mouth tender.
Courgette blossoms with Asiago cheese were next up, which was very exciting for me personally; ever since I saw the pecorino cheeses hanging in the restaurant upon arrival, I was keen to sample them for myself! The dish was simple, but the addition of anchovies and dried tomatoes to the cheese was a fantastic touch that made it particularly delicious.
Happily, the courses kept on coming. Next up was an Italian classic, Tagliolini with mushrooms in Pecorino cheese. This was a breath-taking dish, with the pasta cooked to al dente perfection and placed into a ball of cheese. Impressed by the tasty veal earlier, I decided to embrace my new found enthusiasm for the meat by tucking into a breaded, mature cutlet, which was every bit as appealing as the earlier sample – especially when paired with a fried egg and black truffle.
If you’re a dessert lover like me, however, the very best was saved for last. I ordered Grandma Rose’s tiramisu, and to my delight it was constructed right before my very eyes! This gave me yet another insight into the dedicated care and craft that the Numa team put into everything that they prepare and serve to their lucky customers.
What’s more, the wine expertise of the Numa team really came to the fore throughout these different taste sensations. As I previously mentioned, we started our meal with a glass of champagne before moving onto a selection of white and red wines – all selected from a list of over 150 sourced from the Alpine region alone, alongside a number of options for territories as diverse as South Africa, Australasia and South America. The Sommelier that helped us, Juan Maria Galan, offered a fantastic service based on encyclopaedic knowledge, and I can’t recommend following his advice highly enough. Every glass of wine that he suggested to accompany our food awakened a different sense, and really took our meal to the next level.
A peaceful utopia among the busy streets of Madrid, I cannot recommend Numa highly enough to anybody in the region. Bringing a touch of Italy to Spain is no easy feat, but it’s one that owners Sandro Silva and Marta Seco – who have also graced us with such astonishing eateries as El Paraguas, Ten con Ten, Ultramarinos Quintín and Amazónico – have achieved with great gusto. I will certainly be returning to sample some of the many and diverse menu items that I could fit into this visit!
Opens every day from 13:30 a 16:00 y de 20:00 a 00:00.
A: Calle Velázquez 18, Madrid, España.
T: +34 (91) 685 97 19
W: Restaurante Numa
Written by Rafa Zurita for Luxuria Lifestyle