Spicy food is hot in Madrid – tastes are changing, and thanks to an increased immigrant population catering to the demands of a growingly adventurous Spanish palate, exotic little places are appearing every day. Madrid is the gift that just keeps giving!
Chef Panda is small, seating around 30 people, and after opening recently, it’s already popular with Chinese diners, who go for the uncompromisingly Sichuan menu. At first glance, some items on the menu sound a bit scary if I’m honest; sheep entrails in hot chili oil and pork skin aspic are delicious I’m sure, but I probably won’t be ordering them any time soon. I love that they are available though, as this tells me whatever I choose will be the real thing.
We tried some ferociously hot bean noodles, sweet potato noodle soup, twice-cooked pork, Japanese-style fried tofu and some spicy tentacles that were packed with fresh ginger, Sichuan pepper, spring onions, garlic, star anise, cilantro and fresh chili – lots of fresh chili. Washed down with Chinese beer, it was all fabulous!
The service is great; dishes come sizzling out of the tiny kitchen within minutes. These are sharing dishes; too much for one person, and anyway, you’ll want to try everything! We were welcomed with bowls of roast peanuts, and were given a complimentary plate of fruit when we’d finished.
We left Chef Panda glowing, and planning our next visit, when who knows, maybe we’ll be brave and tackle some fiery intestines!