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Art, history and gastronomy - La Ferreteria restaurant in Madrid

A fusion of tradition and avant-garde

Art, history and gastronomy

Located in what was the oldest hardware store in Madrid, Ferretería by EGO is a fusion of tradition and avant-garde.

Housed in the oldest hardware store in Madrid, Ferretería by EGO is a stunning gastro-bar and a restaurant serving traditional Spanish cuisine with an innovative twist. It is also a unique space in which to enjoy the best of Spanish gastronomy, namely jamón.

Ferretería by EGO was founded by art collector Mª Antonia Escapa and Emilio García-Ortigosa, one of the most important jamón cutting masters in the world. García-Ortigosa’s initials add the EGO to the restaurant’s name.

Preserving the identity of the place and its history, Ferretería by EGO is a timeless urban meeting spot. It is a place to eat, drink and socialise, for special occasions with fine tasting menus and informal everyday affairs with wonderful cocktails and tasty tapas. Combining mastery and artistry, Emilio García-Ortigosa and his team of cutters offer some of the best-cut ham in the world.

The old hardware store opened in 1888, and part of it belonged to the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Loreto, which was built in the 16th century for the protection of orphaned girls.

Historically protected (Level 1, which is reserved for premises considered to be of great value), Ferretería by EGO was restored over three years with great care and respect for its historic character.

Reformed by the owners, Emilio García-Ortigosa and Mª Antonia Escapa, with the help of renowned architect Joaquín Torres of A-cero, the building beautifully captures the charm and style of its former glory.

The striking facade maintains the original aesthetic, its classy shop windows and magnificent calligraphic metal typography now radiating flair and elegance. The decor gives a nod to the building’s heritage, with exposed brick walls, traditional wood fittings and plenty of old decorative elements.

Image gallery of dishes at La Ferreteria restaurant in Madrid

Wood, stone, sand, water and chiaroscuro lighting lend the space a refined sense of beauty and a sublime continuity. The 700m2 space is divided into several zones.

Full of history, the ground floor is located in the old hardware store. It is a gastro-bar area where guests may stand at the commanding original oak counter. There are hundreds of floor-to-ceiling drawers that preserve the shop’s essence, whilst forming a stunning mosaic of bottles and original objects from the old business. The original floor adds to the area’s charm and character. Alternatively, guests may sit at high tables in what was the shop’s old back room.

The informal gastro-bar is an ideal place for a beer, a vermouth, a glass of wine or a signature cocktail, as well as some delicious tapas such as the expertly cut ham which forms the heart of the menu. Other quality culinary offerings include ham or beef croquettes, marinated chicken skewers, homemade Morcilla de León Black Pudding, firewood smoked vegetables, Galician mussels and artisan anchovies. There is also a small open kitchen complete with a charcoal oven on this level.

On the lower ground floor, one will find the exquisitely decorated restaurant in the atmospheric vaults of what used to be the historic convent. It is an elegant place that marries its fascinating history with art and gastronomy.

Preserving the authenticity of the historic building, the owners decided to keep many of the original furniture pieces, cabinets and floors. Diners may feast their eyes on original works by famous artists and painters, including Bharti Kher and Julio Le Parc.

The restaurant has several rooms and spaces perfect for an intimate evening or that special dinner. Guests may dine from the à la carte or tasting menus, but whatever one chooses, the legendary superior-quality, EGO-cut ham is a must.

There is also a workshop, which is a multi-functional and interactive gastronomic space. The workshop, El Taller Ferretego, offers different training courses in oenology, gastronomy, ham cutting and mixology. Special events – both corporate and private – may be held here.

Image composition from the dining rooms at restaurant La Ferreteria in Madrid

As well, Ferretería by EGO is the head office for EGO-cut ham that is delivered to several restaurants in Madrid.

Iberian ham is part of the inheritance of Emilio García-Ortigosa’s family, which is why he decided that is where his career lay. But Emilio decided to make his name by cutting the ham in a highly unconventional manner.

García-Ortigosa’s distinctive EGO ham cut style is based on the breakage of the meat fibres and separation of the different muscles. In order to achieve this, each pork leg is scrutinised with anatomical precision. The EGO ham cut allows diners to enjoy various textures, flavours and nuances from the same cutting line. From the same ham, one may achieve up to 40 distinct flavours.

In addition, the EGO style incorporates fusions with additional ingredients that allow García-Ortigosa to play with the ham to develop new, innovative flavours. When maturing it with ingredients such as ginger, wasabi, sesame or strawberries, the essence of the EGO style comes out: a ham experience unique from anything one has experienced before.

In his restaurant, Emilio José-Ortigosa trains the ham cutters who work with passion and know-how to offer ham that goes from the driest to the juiciest parts, and from the sweetest to the most intense and earthy.

Emilio José-Ortigosa is today, without a doubt, one of the most influential reference points in the world of ham-cutting. He showcases modern innovation and progressive values that pave the way for harmonious integration and celebration of traditions, cultures and flavours, creating a new experience for the senses.

A platter of acorn-fed Iberian ham cut in the EGO style is an amazing experience not to be missed. The ham-cutter, using a huge Katana-style knife, explains what each piece of ham is and in what order one should eat its various parts. Neither bread nor drink is recommended during the whole ham-tasting, which will allow diners to be fully concentrated on savouring and appreciating the ham’s different flavours, intensity, nuances, combinations and special pairings.

Diners may taste ham from different areas – including Hijate and Serón (Almería), Jabugo (Huelva) and Albuquerque (Extremadura) – and learn everything there is to know about the different cuts, parts and fats. For the ultimate experience, order Manchado de Jabugo (Spotted Jabugo) from Dehesa Maladúa. This is one of the most expensive hams in the world: one portion costs more than €200, and the whole leg is more than €7,700.

The menus change with the seasons and include a number of themes: the sea, the farm, the pasture, etc. With a great presence of ham from Cinco Jotas and meat from El Capricho, the fabulous menus showcase a premium range of ingredients and super-fresh produce. The delectable bread, made with organic flours and sourdough, is from Ávila, aromatic Raf tomatoes from Almería, gorgeous white prawns from Santa Pola and wild fish. The beef from El Capricho is considered by many restaurant critics to be the best in the world.

With Chef Alfredo González in charge, the cuisine is rooted in traditional Spanish fare and home cooking, while exhibiting a modern spirit and a sophisticated edge, along with an element of surprise.
He shows an absolute respect for the product and seasonality in his menus. For an authentic taste, many of the dishes are cooked in the traditional way, with cast iron placed in a wood-burning oven for smoked flavours.

Highlights may include croquettes from Iberian acorn-fed ham or cured beef from León, grilled octopus leg, Cantabrian sardine loins cured in citrus brine and seafood stew (souquet). A feast for the senses, each course is artistically presented.

There is an interesting wine list, with references not so well known, yet unique and delicious. Thanks to international mixologist Adam Varga, there is also an exciting cocktail menu, ranging from classic cocktails to innovative creations.

Diners are guaranteed to embark on a wonderful and rewarding culinary journey in the historic atmosphere of Ferretería by EGO. It should be on every serious foodie’s and gourmet’s must-eat list when looking for a great restaurant in Madrid.

ferreteriabyego.com

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