I achieved my 32nd birthday last Wednesday. I use the word ‘achieve’ as this is the literal translation of saying you ‘turned’ a certain age in Spanish. I like this interpretation; that despite everything that life can throw at you and all the obstacles that could cut you down at any moment, you’ve survived to rack up another year.
Therefore, to celebrate having managed to get thus far in life, two kind friends whisked me off to ‘Tarte and Quiche’ for a birthday brunch at this tiny, tasty café.
After a spate of torrential rain and grey skies last week I was overjoyed to see that the non-existent weather god had answered my prayers and given us back the sol so we could enjoy the pavement tables and the warm, autumn sunshine.
It took me all of, ooh, 30 seconds to decide I wasn’t going to be torn on the decision of tarte or quiche when everything in the cabinet looked so divine, therefore I naturally chose to congratulate myself and plumped for one of each. My more restrained friends were drawn straight to the magnificent looking sweet tartlets.
‘Tarte and Quiche’ is a prime example of a place limiting what it sells but doing it really well. There are no sandwiches, tortillas, fries on the side here, it just creates exactly what it states and to such a standard that it was difficult to get past salivating over the glass cabinet and make a selection.
My deep-filled wedge of crab and spinach quiche could’ve been heavy but both the pastry and filling were light and not stodgy in the slightest. I’ve wondered whether to reserve my criticism of using crab sticks in the filling as it was a flavoursome piece of quiche but I can’t hold back on that. Why choose crabsticks? They’ve never seen a crab in their existence and given the café’s concept of using fresh, local and some organic ingredients I’m surprised that they’ve included them. They must also have a fantastic microwave as I shuddered at the thought of soggy pastry as it went in to be heated but whatever they’re using kept it crisp.
Whilst I wanted to be adventurous about my tarte, I predictably went for the chocolate and hazelnut one, whether it’s nutella ice cream or belgian praline chocolates, this is a combination I find difficult to sway from if it’s on offer. This was HEAVEN, sweet, very light and crisp pastry and the filling coated my mouth with a wave of dark, slightly bitter, hazelnut and chocolate ganache.
Considering I was being treated to this brunch and that I already had two portions of my own to work my way through, it seemed unfair to start digging into my companions’ plates as well but my fork managed to make it’s way into that pillowy, swirled meringue, tangy lemon filling and more of that expert pastry on the plate next to me. I didn’t manage to sample the raspberry and almond tarte. Knowing how much my other friend would have a 3 course dinner comprising of ‘dessert, dessert, dessert’ I didn’t want to deprive her of a mouthful, the picture and her slow, contemplative eating showed how much it equalled ours.
For further tarty titilation there’s a gallery of more of their products here.
I loved this hidden haven and will have to try my best to resist the temptation to regularly call in now I know it’s only a slight detour on the way for my train to work. It’s not a place for a large group, the inside space is limited to seating around 12 and as the cooler weather approaches and forces us indoors the street won’t be available to take the overspill. Curiously they open 6 days a week with their day of closing on a Saturday but maybe they know that this small package of indulgence is just what’s required to set Sunday on the right path instead.
Tarte and quiche, C/Aragó 39, non-smoking