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Food & Drink

How Madrina makes a mille feuille twist on a classic tapas snack

By Rebecca Fleming| Photography by Dave Gillespie
How Madrina makes a mille feuille twist on a classic tapas snack

The Distillery District’s new Spanish kitchen, Madrina Bar y Tapas, turns patatas bravas, a classic tapas dish, into the city’s fanciest fried potatoes. Here’s how they do it.

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The space

A cavernous 2,800-square-foot room decked out in red and orange hues, terra cotta tiles and heritage stone walls. It’s in the restaurant’s open kitchen where Catalan chef Ramon Simarro whips up modern takes on Spanish tapas.

The potatoes

Simarro uses Yukon Gold potatoes exclusively; he likes their flavour and fry­ability. The kitchen goes through 60 pounds of them every week.

The technique

He slices the starchy tubers paper-thin using a mandoline (you know, that kitchen utensil that’s been responsible for injuries on MasterChef), and bakes them until they’re nice and soft. Then he refrigerates them, weighing them down so they flatten as they cool. After they’re done chilling, Simarro layers them 15 deep, cuts them into bars and fries them until crispy.

The sauce

Each patata is topped with alternating dollops of the Brava Sauce—a kicky condiment made from confit onions, tomatoes, paprika and sriracha, all cooked for over six hours—and a traditional aïoli amped up with sinus-clearing wasabi (Simarro is a big fan of Japanese gastronomy).

The presentation

The patatas bravas, three to an order, arrive at the table on what looks like a miniature shipping pallet. The cutesy presentation isn’t solely for aesthetic purposes, though: the gaps help to prevent the potatoes from getting soggy bottoms.

2 Trinity St., 416-548-8055, madrinatapas.com

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This story originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $24 a year, click here.

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