Weekly Grill: Nieves Barragan, the chef at Sabor, tells us why the best feasts are to be found in Madrid in winter

 
Nieves Barragan
Nieves Barragan, executive chef director at Sabor (Source: Photo: Chris Terry)

Sabor chef Nieves Barragan on why Madrid in the winter is the best place on earth to eat


Who are you and what do you do?

Nieves Barragan, executive chef director at Sabor.

What’s Sabor?

It’s a journey through Spain from our bar, to the counter and upstairs to the Asador. The Asador itself is really special; it’s a rustic dining room with a wood oven where we cook whole Segovian suckling pigs. People come especially for this dish. We also have large traditional copper pots used in the Galician region to cook octopus.


Tell us about the best meal you ever had

Every time I go to Madrid (during winter), I enjoy the best feasts. Starting with traditional Callos in spicy tomato sauce followed by a chickpea broth and finishing with black pudding, chorizo, pancetta, potatoes, and cabbage. It’s just the best place at winter time.


Black tomato, confit artichoke and txistorra. Photo: Chris Terry

What’s your earliest food memory?

Eating braised ox tongue with my mum, who would cook all the time at home.

What’s your favourite dish?

Caldereta for sure. It’s a truly comforting seafood soup.

What’s your favourite food-related anecdote?

I took an amazing trip to Galicia with a group of 18 people from the hospitality industry. We enjoyed the ultimate in Galician experiences including the ritual of Queimada, which is the preparation of their local drink whilst being surrounded by musicians (gaiters) – they made all of us dance like we had never danced before! An incredible atmosphere and a night I won’t forget.


An overhead view of the chefs hard at work in Sabor's kitchen. Photo: Chris Terry

What’s the best thing about the London food scene?

The authenticity across different cultures.

And the worst thing?

The rather high cost of bringing some products from abroad.

To book go to saborrestaurants.co.uk; call 020 3319 8130; or visit 35-37 Heddon St, W1B 4BR