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.
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.
Simarro uses Yukon Gold potatoes exclusively; he likes their flavour and fryability. The kitchen goes through 60 pounds of them every week.
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.
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 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
This story originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $24 a year, click here.