Carmencita Bar is a cute little cafe-bar at the Noviciado end of Calle San Vicente Ferrer, simply decorated with white walls and mismatched tables and chairs in classic Malasaña style. It's certainly petite, with a few high tables and some bar space in addition to tables for two and small groups.
Visiting around 12.30 on a Sunday, there was one table free for brunch (they take reservations). The short menu is translated into English, an international gesture that's explained by the fact that around half the customers seemed to be American or English. The menu was as varied as the clientele, with 6 options including the bizarrely-named 'Bunny plate' (eggs benedict served with salmon, avocado and crispy bacon, €10.50. And no, I have no idea what that has to do with rabbits either), French toast with scrambled eggs and bacon and huevos rancheros with black beans (both €8.50). You definitely need to bring your appetite to Carmencita. There's nothing light about the menu; you'll find no granola and berries here. The particularly hungry can order the fixed brunch menu for €14, which includes eggs benedict with salmon, avocado or crispy bacon, home fried, hash browns or salad, the dessert of the day, a Mimosa and a coffee. Carmencita's usual range of burgers (no veggie option) are also on offer at brunch time.
|Mushroom revuelto, hiding under the home fries|
Glad not to be tied into a set menu, I opted for the mushroom revuelto with provolone (goat's cheese also available), served with home fries (chunky bits of fried potato, for the non-americanos) and salad, as a needless nod towards health. The provolone was a sort of crispy disc of semi-melted cheese perched atop the scrambled eggs: not exactly what I'd expected, but tasty nonetheless. For €7.50, I had no complaints about portion size. My revuelto was a decent size, but paled in comparison to the hearty helping of home fries. A few more mushrooms in amongst the scrambled egg wouldn't have gone amiss though. S's eggs benedict with crispy bacon (€8.50) was similarly sized, ideal for feeding a hangover. They were smothered in hollandaise though, so requesting it served aparte could be a good idea unless you're a fan of this effect. The hash browns were home-made, and not something you see on Spanish brunch menus often: ideal for homesick Brits.
Carmencita's a good budget brunch option if you're feeling hungry but don't want to commit to a set menu. It's also served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, whereas most Madrid restaurants offer brunch on Sundays only. There's nothing remarkable about the food: it's tasty and well-cooked (if a bit salty), but fairly standard brunch fare. However, the low price, friendly bilingual service and cosy setting all help to make Carmencita worth a visit.
Address: Carmencita Bar is at Calle San Vicente Ferrer 51, 28015 Madrid.
Tel: 915 238 073
Metro: Noviciado (line 2)
Brunch is served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4.30pm.