Friday, 6 November 2015

A secret garden in the heart of Madrid

It may boast the beautiful oasis that is Retiro Park, but Madrid can't claim to be Europe's greenest city. Now autumn's set in and the leaves have started to darken, the capital's looking far from verdant. But one pocket of greenery remains year round. It's not a public park, nor the Botanic Garden. You wouldn't stumble on it while out for a walk. No, you'd be more likely to find this secret garden while out shopping.


El Jardin Secreto: A haven in central Madrid


On the third floor of the Salvador Bachiller shop on decidedly unglamorous Calle Montera, there's a surprise in store. El Jardín Secreto is an outdoor tearoom where trees grow and flowers bloom. Just a few metres above the city streets, this rooftop cafe is a quiet haven where patrons sip tea with petit fours or indulge in a slice of cake. There's an English air about the place, but the menu features typical Spanish fare too, like ham and cheese plates, plus raciones such as burrata, quinoa salad and tuna tartare. And if tea isn't your thing, you can sip on sangría, cocktails or milkshakes.

If you are a tea fan though, you won't be disappointed by the pages of teas and infusions on offer. Everything is beautifully presented, with glass tea pots and delicate floral cups just inviting you to take their photo. Another photogenic curiosity is the jardín, a dessert that looks exactly like a seedling  nestling in a plantpot. When you look a little closer, the soil turns out to be grated oreo cookies, garnishing a layer of vanilla ice cream which sits atop a layer of carrot cake.

No, that's not a plant: It's dessert


With soft background music and discreet service, El Jardín Secreto is the perfect place to relax and savour a few moments' calm in the centre of the city, even when it's raining. Unlike parks, this secret garden has a retractable roof to keep you dry and cosy if the weather doesn't want to cooperate. When the sun goes down, the candles come out and you can continue sipping your cocktails after dark.

El Jardín Secreto is in the Salvador Bachiller store at Calle Montera 37, Madrid. For opening times and further information, check out their website.


PS You may have noticed it's been pretty quiet on Oh hello, Spain lately. It's not down to a lack of travels and things to share but a lack of time in which to sit down and write. I started a new job in September so my time and energy has been concentrated elsewhere. I'm hoping to find the time to get back to (semi) regular blogging soon, but in the mean time I'd be interested to hear from guest bloggers, especially those living in Spain. If you'd like to write a post for Oh hello, Spain, please send me an email with your idea.
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