April 20, 2024

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His return to the kitchen is highly desired. After joining Picones de María at the end of 2019, raising it to a higher category with one of the longest waiting lists in Madrid and leaving it unexpectedly in 2021, chef Jorge Muñoz, 33, has a new restaurant. It is called OSA and it is located in a two-story house in the Madrid neighborhood of Manzanares, with views of the river and outside the city’s gastronomic circuit. The choice of the location says a lot about the intentions of Muñoz, who forms a tandem in this adventure with the cook Sara Peral, 31 years old.

“This is not Picones 2.0. It is our restaurant. Sara and I have known each other for two and a half years and during this time we have been working on this project”, warns the chef, who speaks of a new way of understanding cooking in Madrid. “We want customers to feel like we are at home,” says Peral, who has worked in great restaurants such as Mugaritz, DiverXO, Pedregú and Brasserie Lafayette. They are still filming, they plan to officially open in April. At the moment, they serve meals to their circle of acquaintances and soon they will open reservations to new clients. They want to be sure. They know that their kitchen will not leave anyone indifferent. They bet big, they are clear that what they want is to surprise the diner and most importantly, that he repeats.

Room of the OSA restaurant, in the Ribera del Manzanares, in Madrid.
Room of the OSA restaurant, in the Ribera del Manzanares, in Madrid.John Barbosa

The house, about 200 square meters, has been conceived by the architecture studio of Jesús Colao and Ursula Schneider. The space is a riot of noble materials and careful details, ranging from the piece of marble veined in green and black that presides over the kitchen bar and covers the walls of the toilets, to the tool board —skimmers, strainers, scissors, graters, spatulas, brushes, saucepans or mixers- that hangs on the wall in tribute to Julia Child, the famous cook, writer and American television presenter. Added to this are the fig-fragranced candles that warm the restroom area, the repertoire of glasses displayed on an elegant shelf or the shelves where hundreds of bottles of wine rest, whose menu occupies 130 pages of references selected by Fernando Cuenllas, from the grocery store, with a wine bar and restaurant, founded in 1939 on Calle Ferraz in Madrid.

As soon as you cross the elegant door painted in an English green, with the name of the restaurant in gold, there is a small terrace that anticipates that the experience will be different. The smell of the holm oak arrives from the grill. Depending on the gender, they use a certain type of firewood: for meat, holm oak, oak and beech; in fish, lemon and orange, which provide fruity aromas; and for other types of ingredients they use pear or cherry shavings.

An external spiral-shaped iron staircase leads to the upper floor: a private area that the client can enjoy and that houses a small lounge with a fireplace and a maturation chamber, where sausages, wild boar shoulders and pigs’ heads rest. The winery is also there, where they want you to take one of the first passes on the menu, a repertoire of cold cuts, such as porchetta stuffed with herbs, capon stuffed with poultry and pig’s head. “We wanted to recover the galantinas and create our own line of sausages,” says Peral. It will be one of his identification signs. That is what they are doing, “forging the identity of the house, forming a family and a team,” explains Muñoz. The working group is made up of 13 people. “Some crazy people who come from big projects to feed, drink and make diners enjoy”, says the chef, supported by the sommelier, Silvia Machado, and the head waiter, Eva Angoloti.

The OSA restaurant is located in a two-story house, with a terrace facing the Manzanares River.
The OSA restaurant is located in a two-story house, with a terrace facing the Manzanares River. John Barbosa

Everything is cooked on the ground floor: the kitchen has a generous space, double the size of the dining room, which has six tables, with capacity for 22 diners, to which are added the squares on the terrace, where they intend to serve a more informal letter. The gastronomic offer will consist of a menu of the day, avoiding the concept of a tasting menu. “It is a proposal that will constantly change. We want to play with the seasons, as if it were a theater. There will be five functions, because winter is divided into two stages, in one there will be room for mushrooms and in the other, hunting. Then spring, summer and autumn will come, and it will depend on what we have to cook each day”, explain the two kitchen managers. The menu will consist of 16 passes and will be priced at 180 euros, with the complete experience (bread, water and coffee), except for the wines. “Until now, we have done what we wanted and now, we want to do what the client tells us,” says Muñoz. And in that search to fulfill dreams they have spared no resources or time. They have been outlining the project for two years and looking for suppliers, and they already have more than a hundred product suppliers to prepare the current menu.

The winery is managed by Fernando Cuenllas, who has a 130-page wine list.
The winery is managed by Fernando Cuenllas, who has a 130-page wine list.John Barbosa

At the table, the feast will change every day. They have been researching for some time with products such as trout, red mullet, wild eel, the tongue of wagyu, quail or mallard duck, to make the most of them with surprising techniques and results. The smoked trout, from the Aragonese river Vero, is served with its own seasoned roe, butter and rye bread and the red mullet cured with amazake —a Japanese drink that is made by fermenting rice with koji—, wrapped in a vodka tempura and served with a herbal mayonnaise. The eels come from Foz (Portugal), they are offered open in half, matured, grilled and without prior cooking, to find the crispy point, with a sauce made with a reduction of the bones.

the language of wagyu It is served in three bites prepared in different ways depending on the area: the one closest to the steamed tonsils and the tip, and the leanest part on the grill. The mallard duck is presented in a boneless leg at low temperature, bathed in béchamel with a Montseny truffle. His thigh has had two weeks of maturation, to reach the table rare, and with a vegetable sauce. The quail also spends 10 days hanging in the maturation chamber before being served as a bite wrapped in a vine leaf and a Bilbao sauce. Wild boar is another of the products that Muñoz has focused on over the years. He prepares it in the form of a sando (Japanese-style sandwich) and a marinated rib, smoked and cooked at low temperature, which is accompanied by a salad of sprouts.

The tool board is a tribute to the American cook Julia Child.
The tool board is a tribute to the American cook Julia Child.John Barbosa

Among other dishes, there is the rabbit fillet from Morata de Tajuña (Madrid) with mustard, garlic cream and pickles, salsify bathed in Cádiz goat butter, in a kind of carbonara, or the sublime roasted peppers with pilpil of cod skin. Desserts have substance, such as blood orange ice, marmalade and fresh citrus wedges. Or the cake dedicated to Madrid, with a caramelized almond praline.

The attention to detail extends to the coffee, with a variety from El Salvador, supplied by Nomad, and the wheat bread supplied by Clan Obrador. “We flee from fashions and trends, we follow our rules,” says Muñoz, who clarifies the meaning of OSA. They were looking for a female name and found it in a Monteria Decree of 1384, which said that Madrid is the land of pigs and bears. So much so that Alfonso XI put the bear on the city’s coat of arms. “OSA is wild, it is mother and it is home. Concepts that coexist here”.

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