Arriving at Crucina at around 8pm, we were, of course, the only people there.
In Madrid, like much of the Spanish speaking world, people don’t start eating their evening meal until what often seems to us to be unreasonably late.
“Are you vegan?” the man who we later would learn was the owner asked us, looking slightly concerned as he handed us a pair of menus.
“No, not really…” I replied.
“So all of our food is raw vegan (crudivegano). Everything is 100% organic and it contains no animal products. Is that OK?”
“Yes, that’s why we came!” Zab chimed in.
He seemed to relax at that, and smiling, left us to browse the menu, adding only “if you have any questions, just let me know!”
When he returned to take our order, he brought with him a long plate with two small glasses of a green liquid.
“This is a free appetiser,” he announced. “Spinach, sea water, dill and olive oil.”
I was hesitant at the sea water, but tried it nonetheless. It was quite delicious, and very fresh. Apparently, he went on to tell us, there are a lot of health benefits of drinking sea water, though a lot of people (like me, it would seem) are reluctant to embrace it.
To drink, I ordered a spinach, beetroot, celery and carrot juice while Zab had nettle tea, served in a cute pot.
As we waited for our mains, the owner spent more time talking to us.
“When we first opened two years ago, this was the first 100% raw vegan restaurant in Europe.”
“In all of Europe?” I didn’t quite believe him.
“Yes, there were already some in North America before, and of course there were many vegan restaurants in Europe that served a lot of raw food, but this was the first to work entirely without cooking the food. Instead, we dehydrate many things, often over several hours, and of course we also use a blender and other tools to create different textures.”
The name, a portmanteau of crudo (raw) and cucina (kitchen) seemed very fitting.
Once our mains arrived, we were at first impressed with the presentation. Unfortunately, the low light in the restaurant didn’t make for the best pictures, but it was very pretty nonetheless.
Zab had a raw pizza with a base made of nuts and seeds that had been slowly dehydrated at 42C (and was indeed still warm) topped with tomato sauce, lettuce, olives and dehydrated peppers, which was divine.
I had ordered the courgette linguini (basically raw strips of courgette that looked a bit like pasta) served in two piles, one with spirulina and the other with turmeric, with some pomegranate seeds scattered around.
It was nice enough, though it was very cold; I think I would’ve enjoyed it more had it not come straight from a fridge and instead was served at room temperature. Also, I discovered, I really don’t like raw turmeric.
“Is there any space for desert?” the owner asked as he took away our plates.
“Always!” I said.
We ordered a tiramisu and an apple pie.
While the apple pie, served with a strawberry and cardamom compote was most definitely recognisable as such (and tasted lovely) the tiramisu did not really resemble anything I’d had calling itself tiramisu before. It was nevertheless, quite delicious. Made with a mashed banana and avocado base, covered in raw Peruvian cocoa and just sweet enough without being sickly.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Crucina, in no small part due to the attention of the owner and his obvious passion for the food he served us. It was definitely not a cheap place, though at the same time wasn’t extravagant, so I’d recommend it for something a bit special.
- For the meal described above, we paid €54.99 (£46.07)
- Address: Divino Pastor 30, 28004, Madrid
- Telephone: +34 914 453 364
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