Diverxo: El Xow

I’ve been to Diverxo Restaurant in Madrid four times now, and it’s always weird. But this time was truly a Xow. Or more specifically, El Xow

This is the first of two posts about Diverxo Restaurant in Madrid. Tomorrow I am telling you why this visit to Diverxo was my least favourite of four visits…
But today I am telling you about the complexity and attention to detail in the dishes.

Diverxo 2015 "El Xow" Diverxo 2015 "El Xow" Diverxo 2015 "El Xow"

This time was my first visit to the new location that they have, where the dining room is bigger and more spectacular than ever and the experience (because it’s as much about the experience as it is about the food at Diverxo) is crazier than ever.

Click here for location.

One thing that they’ve changed at the new place is the costume that the waiters wear. It is even worse than before – and before it was bad. Note that I call them costumes, not uniforms. The waiters are dressed in what I can only imagine are prisoners’ uniforms and scruffy trainers.

El Xow

The menu is called El Xow (The Show) and that is what it is. It’s like being at a circus. In fact, if you open the Diverxo website, the first thing you see is head chef David Muñoz’s pierced face, with clowns either side of him.

Please do visit Diverxo website and watch the video. It is absolutely crazy. Unfortunately you don’t get to see the awful prison overalls that the waiters wear now, but you do get a glimpse right at the end, of the new dining room. And of David Muñoz in a straitjacket, which probably isn’t that inappropriate.

In Diverxo’s Xow, the waiters are the cast and the diners are the audience. The amazing new dining room is their fantastic set. The actors never stop; they rush around like little ants, almost colliding with each other in their haste. The whole thing is utter chaos… or is it just clever choreography? They look like they are about to stop what they are doing at any moment and launch into a flashmob!

Let El Xow commence.

I can’t possibly write about the whole tasting menu that we had because we’ll be here all day and all of tomorrow too, plus I did already write about the menu from a previous visit to Diverxo, which you can read here.

Instead, I have decided to give you an example of a couple of the crazy dishes that we had, with my (attempt at an) explanation of what they are:

The Blank Canvas

First of all, each dish is not a dish. Okay, good start, Lisa!

I mean it’s not called a dish. Or a plate. It’s called a canvas. The canvas, a huge rectangular white or black board (just like a plastic chopping board, to give you an idea), is set down in front of the diner with, at the moment, a tiny amount of food on it.

The waiter will explain what is in front of you at the moment and will explain how to eat it. While he is explaining, he might be painting on the canvas at the same time, adding a sauce or a foam or God knows what.

Or he will let you start and then half way through, something else will appear on the canvas.

The dishes at Diverxo are never served at the table already complete.

Duck Love

The dish I’d like to tell you about was called ‘Duck Love‘.

diverxo el xow

Crunchy sandwich of semi-roasted Kobe beef, smoked eel and tomato ice cream

The first element of this dish to land on the table was this clear stand with a sandwich on it.

This was supposed to be a crunchy sandwich of iced tomato, sea urchin and semi-roasted Kobe beef. As you can see from the photo above, mine did not have sea urchin on it as I don’t eat seafood. My sea urchin was substituted for a divine piece of fish.

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t remember what fish it was, but I sent a photo of it to head chef David Muñoz on Twitter and he told me that it was smoked eel. He remembered that they had changed it for me from the sea urchin.

Smoked eel and roast beef? Really?

This dish, from the bottom up: the ‘sandwich‘ is the fine pieces of toast, the Kobe beef is the next part. Kobe beef is a cut of beef from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. Anything else is not Kobe beef. This completely fell apart in the mouth, so tender.

Then on the top is the smoked eel, or in Toni’s case, the sea urchin. And on top of that are little balls of tomato ice cream.

Imagine the party in your mouth when you bite into that lot!

We were supposed to have eaten that when the canvas came, but we hadn’t. We were talking about it and examining it instead.

Diverxo 2015 "El Xow"

So when the canvas arrived, the sandwich and its stand were put onto the canvas. We were instructed to eat this first.

The only other thing on the canvas was a spoon with what looked like oil on it. We were instructed not to touch this under any circumstances.

Then the dish was put onto the canvas and was explained to us:

In the dish was a lot of work.

Diverxo 2015 "El Xow"

There were the pieces of duck, of course. After all, the name of the dish is Duck Love.

There was something in this dish which was called “nearly civet”, which I have no idea what that was – were we eating cat, then? It probably wouldn’t my first time, let’s face it.

There was a lot of “Japanese Fire”, which meant that something (I guess the duck) was cooked in the Japanese robata grill style.

And to finish off there was a ketchup of tomatillo de árbol, a tomato-like fruit but which grows on a tree.

This fruit is used a lot in South American cooking and is used especially in sauces.

To tell you the truth, even though I could appreciate how elaborate all the elements of these combined dishes were, I didn’t really like it much.

Well, the first part I did; the sandwich was excellent. Whoever would have thought: eel and beef?

But this duck part of the dish, I wasn’t keen. The texture of the duck was quite disgusting and it half-reminded me of something else that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Don’t get me wrong; the flavours were amazing.

When the waiter came to clear our dishes he asked us if we’d figured out why the dish was called Duck Love.

Oh, that was it! As soon as he said it, I realised: the pieces of duck we had eaten were duck hearts. And that uncomfortable reminder that I hadn’t been able to put my finger on came flooding back in all too much detail. Earlier in the winter we’d eaten skewers of chicken hearts in an outdoor market in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. I’d found them disgusting and had spent a good deal of the rest of the evening in the bathroom (I hadn’t known it was chicken hearts until a few days later).

Now I wished I’d followed my gut and left the duck. I hoped I wasn’t going to have a Kota Kinabalu situation in Diverxo of all places.

My mind was soon distracted though, when a waitress appeared. She took the spoon that we’d been told not to touch from our canvas and she mixed some powder into the oil on the spoon.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t know what the powder was nor do I know what it tasted of. I was so busy worrying whether she was actually going to spoon-feed me! And then I was so busy dying of embarrassment after she had spoon-fed me!

Diverxo 2015 "El Xow" Diverxo 2015 "El Xow"

All that was one dish. Or rather, elements of one canvas. Do you understand now why I couldn’t possibly describe the whole menu?

If you’d like to see the photos of the whole menu, you can see them in the slideshow below or by visiting my Flickr Account.

I will, on another occasion, describe one of the other dishes to you from this amazing visit to Diverxo.

Don’t forget that tomorrow I’ll be letting you in on why this was my least favourite visit to Diverxo of my four visits.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on InMyShoesTravel.com are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

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Filed Under: featuredFine Diningfood and drinkmadridMadrid Gastronomyspain

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    How many dishes did you actually have? I’ve just looked at the photos and can’t believe how many different dishes were there. I know you like this fine dining but I don’t think it’s for me, I wouldn’t like to be spoon fed.

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