DiverXO, Madrid’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, feels like someone turned Cirque Du Soleil into a restaurant. Pronounced “duh-ver-show,” the dining experience is an Alice in Wonderland-like, four-hour-or-so trip into the wacky, perverse, and utterly creative mind of owner-chef David Muñoz…and damn, is it good.
To be honest, I feel like blogging about DiverXO deserves a spoiler alert. If you ever intend to eat there, don’t look at the pics below. Even if the menu does change regularly, I would recommend going into this restaurant much as you would the latest film in your favorite series. Keep all prior knowledge and expectations kept at bay and just dive (pun intended) right in.
This destination of a restaurant is set apart from the historic center of Madrid, and that’s probably on purpose. I won’t pretend to be a Madrid expert (I was only there for one full day), but I can say with a fair amount of certainty that DiverXO’s somewhat remote location was chosen so that its privileged diners could feel they had gone on a journey away from the touristy parts of the city.
Entering the restaurant, one can expect mounted pig butts, massive ice cream cone-shaped wine bottle holders, butterflies everywhere, a full-tour of the ordered chaos of a kitchen, and if you’re lucky (like we were), a photo with the surprisingly down-to-earth David Muñoz at the end of the meal. Each of the 12 tables are enveloped in a private velvet curtain fit more for a theater than a restaurant. Around 20 minutes into the meal, the waiters dramatically whisk the curtain away to reveal the rest of the restaurant with a hearty “Welcome to DiverXO!” It’s this dramatic decor and presentation that makes DiverXO more of an experience than just a restaurant. Of course, there’s also the food, but I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.
The food is epic, the presentation is epic, and so too is the price tag- there are only two courses priced at 195 euros and 250 euros. I usually opt for the “go big or go home” type mentality at these places, because I may never have the chance to go back. In this case, however, the waitress actually advised AGAINST the longer course menu. We were glad she did, because our shorter course was a ton of food. I’m a big eater and can put up a solid fight at any buffet, but by the end of this meal, I was STUFFED. It begs the question- is the longer course really even necessary?
The reservation system is difficult, so plan way ahead. You need to find an open date on their website a good 3 months in advance, and then buy a 60 euro “ticket” (down payment that goes to the final bill price) to hold your seat.
I promise you- this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and totally worth all the effort.
Let’s eat DiverXO! (Note- all food descriptions below are exactly as printed on the menu.)
A small idea of the interior decor.
Viva Mexico Cabrones!!! Green mole with fennel and green tomato, olluco, steamed octopus, and bone marrow.
Crunchy sandwich and ox tail with black mole.
Taco filled with huitlacoche, pumping flower, and palo cortado. (These three dishes were served at a quick pace as one “canvas.” It was after eating the taco that the velvet curtain was taken away.)
Steamed white asparagus “vichyssoise” with toasted buffala’s butter, red Japanese rice, yuzu, homemade sriracha, sansho pepper…suckling pig!!
Grilled semi-baked red tuna with shiso and lime pesto “fetuccini,” quali fried eggs, botargo, and bacon!!!
Bacon ice-cream with beet chips (the bacon part of the last desciption)
How does a Whopper taste like in Diverxo? Duck royal with five chinese spices and “gochujang,” green mustard, chive and red vinegar, roasted duck….
…and his own tongues. (Duck tongues served after the previous dish.)
Prawn “spicy bolognese” with red shrimp, lily bulb, rocoto pepper, “karashi sumiso” (sweet Japanese mustard), and his own grilled head.
Detail of the X dish
Detail of the O dish.
At this point (and for the following 7 dishes), the staff turned our table into one that would be at a Chinese dim sum house to start the course called “Typical Chinese from Madrizzzz….” First is WontonXO soup- guinea fowl dumpling with shiitake, ginseng soup, and peas.
Char siu bao-XO….Chinese bun dipped in sheep milk with toast corn.
How the previous two dishes were presented together.
Each dish was paired with a sweet wine in these cute little cups.
The third dish was presented thusly. I was instructed to search through these to find the food.
Calamari sandwichXO….squeed, spicy ali-oil, black seasame, and crispbread with sweet and sour sauce.
Crunchy nigiri of grilled cocotxa with bergamot and a creamy paella sauce
Thrush cooked in his own sauce with coconut rice, galanga, keffir lime, and tomburi with lemon puree
The bird was served with this shiso mojito.
The next dish was served like this, then the fish above was plated at the table.
Roasted skate with world peppers….black garlic butter, home-made kimchi, XO sauce, and violet potato!!
Traveller “strogonoff?” Japanese wagyu sirloing cooked on the wok with achiote sauce, shimeji mushroom, and radish raifort chantilly!! (The black thing on the left was a puffy curry-flavored rice)
Rhubarb, pink pepper, sheep milk, and caramel milk. (SO GOOD!)
The prior dessert is called “The tail of the pink panther”
Vilets, basil, blackberries, and “frozen cotton candy!!”
A cream-filled “mochi” served on some interesting dishes…
Croissant ice-cream with chocolate, white cookies, black sesame, and papaya sweetsour ketchup!!
Guava creamy pie, white chocolate, calamansi, and beetroot…thai basil, lychees, and chocolate cookie powder.