Friday, 31 January 2014

Brunch in Madrid: Federal

Picture the scene. You're in Madrid. It's Sunday at 12.30ish. You're hungry and your fridge is empty. You're deathly bored of pan con tomate and besides, you've missed the breakfast window at most bars anyway. However, you've still got a good hour before it becomes remotely reasonable to expect anywhere but a tourist trap to serve you lunch. What do you need? You need brunch.

But where to get a proper brunch in Madrid? Until last Sunday, that was my question too. And then, with a bit of help from website Madrid Confidential, I found Federal. Like many good brunch spots around Europe, Federal is Australian-inspired (and in this case, Australian-run). Repeating the successful formula of its Barcelona counterpart, the Madrid branch of Federal opened on Plaza de los Comendadores in Conde Duque in October 2013. And it offers more than eggs benedict: it offers what I'd call a real brunch. See, I've tried to have brunch in Madrid before. And at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, it's never been quite right. It's been either too late, too expensive, too restrictive in terms of options or just plain wrong (La Central, the aforementioned eggs benedict was nice enough, but why follow them with a dark chocolate pot instead of one of your lovely muffins?).

Enough of what Federal isn't: it's a modern, light space with big windows looking out onto the square (with a terrace to come in summer), serving a varied menu of sweet and savoury brunch goodies every day of the week. From Monday to Friday, you can fill up on pancakes, baked or scrambled eggs, burgers, granola, baked goods and much more from 8am–1pm, while at weekends the timetable relaxes to 9am–4pm for brunch. Outside of the brunch window, Federal serves lunch and evening meals (although it closes at 5pm on Sundays): healthy, tasty-sounding options like quinoa salads and hearty sandwiches on rye bread and more, to be investigated anon. But back to the brunch.

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