Located in the heart of Madrid’s “Golden Mile”, an upscale shopping area of tree-lined boulevards and historic mansions, Torcuato restaurant opened its doors last year to much anticipation; apart from its premium location, Torcuato boasts immersive, kaleidoscopic interiors that playfully mix styles and époques with panache, courtesy of interior designer Pepe Leal, painterly dishes that ingeniously fuse flavours and cuisines, created by acclaimed chef Sergio Fernández, plus one of the most beautiful dining terraces in the city. Both Leal and Fernández have a reputation for daring eclecticism so theirs is a perfect match for a restaurant conceived by hip hospitality group La Fábrica as a wondrous journey through time and across the globe. From the opulent salon of Marie Antoinette and the Art Deco den of the Great Gatsby to the tropics, conjured in Leal’s distinctly playful classical-meets-modern aesthetic and complemented by the Japanese, Mediterranean and Mexican notes of Fernández’s fusion cooking, Torcuato’s patrons are in for an all-sensory extravaganza.
The restaurant takes its name from Torcuato Luca de Tena, a 19th century journalist who founded the art and literary magazine Blanco y Negro and the national newspaper ABC, both of which were housed here up until 1989. Leal drew inspiration from Luca de Tena’s extensive travels around the world, designing a series of distinct spaces that whimsically combine different époques and origins. Leal’s eclectic approach also echoes the historic building’s eccentricity – built in the Neo-Mudéjar style, the mansion combines Moorish Revival, Neo-Renaissance and traditional Andalusian architectural elements. “At the end of the 19th century it was very fashionable to mix different styles", Leal explains, an approach that is also part of his own design ethos. Paired with the designer’s hallmark mastery of colour, joyful energy, humour and attention to detail, Torcuato’s boldly eclectic interiors dazzle and delight in equal measure.
Two imposing halls and a rooftop terrace offer three very distinct dining experiences. Featuring tall arched windows, and white-painted surfaces and decorative floral mouldings, the first is bright and airy. Semi-circular yellow dining booths paired with Eero Saarinen’s iconic Tulip chairs and tables imbue the classical interiors with mid-century vibes, while an installation of plants and flowers displayed in a mirrored wall packed with glass vases, beakers and flasks add vibrant colour accents, as do the vintage botanical illustrations that Leal cheekily taped to the walls. In the second dining hall, Leal channels the royal court of Marie Antoinette, jazzing up the richly ornamented space with pastel pink hues, playfully shaped mirrors and a bespoke minimalist ring-like chandelier that Leal has wrapped in a dichroic filter.
On the contrary, a separate bar area modelled on Great Gatsby’s fictional mansion is imbued with more masculine vibes. Moodier in ambience, the space fuses Art Deco and Neo-Renaissance elements with a dark colour palette and neon lighting. Expanding across all three spaces, Moorish-inspired floor tiling further jazzes up the kaleidoscopic interiors while providing continuity.
Blessed with panoramic views of the city and packed with lush vegetation, the restaurant’s rooftop terrace is reimagined as an exotic getaway where colour-packed contemporary murals of oversized flowers echo the floral patterns of the building’s red brick and tile facades, while metallic arched trellises and sculptural clusters of disc-shaped canopies constitute a jovial, Alice-in-Wonderland environment.
The eclectic fusion of classical and contemporary architecture and design styles is mirrored in chef Sergio Fernández’s creative menu which brings together traditional recipes from Japan, the Mediterranean and Mexico with innovative techniques. A selection of colourful makis and nigiris such as red tuna with red chilli paste and flambéed salmon with yuzu mayo are followed by fanciful starters like cherry salmorejo, a cold soup based on a traditional Andalusian recipe, served with Idiazabal cheese ice cream and crispy yuca, and main courses like “reversed vitello tonnato” featuring red tuna tataki with a meat glaze and caper sauce, a spiced lamb burger with brioche bread and tzatziki, and matured picanha with spiced chimichurri. Rounding up Fernández’s painterly dishes, desserts like the fluid cheesecake with grated Parmesan, and the lemon and kefir lime sponge cake with ginger soup, further underline Torcuato’s all-sensory aspirations.