A favourite place for tea is La Mallorquina which overlooks Puerta del Sol
I missed La Mallorquina when it closed for its summer break in August. This is the place where I meet my English friends. It is the perfect place for tea and cake. The tea is served in one of those tiny stainless steel teapots with a lid that doesn't quite fit. The waiter will bring you some cold milk - ask or you will get it hot!
This places embodies perfection in catering for me. The best location, an upstairs room with a picture window for people watching, simple decor with real tablecloths, smartly dressed and efficient waiters and great food and drinks. La Mallorquina is a Madrid institution. Downstairs you can buy cakes and sweets from the busy counters and you can perch at the sweeping curved chrome bar if you are short of time.
Upstairs is the tea room which is a haven for weary shoppers and thirsty tourists. The menu is translated into English but still leaves me wondering. This time I have tea and a palm which turns out to be a heartshaped pastry "enrobed" in thick delicious chocolate. The waiters are dressed in black trousers, white shirts, burgundy waistcoats and a bow tie. They carry the ubiquitous white napkin and move swiftly amongst the tables.
There is something about La Mallorquina that reminds me of those old fashioned tearooms you find in English seaside resorts. It's the wooden utilitarian furniture that has faded in the sun, the decor that has not changed for over fifty years, the plain white crockery, the simplicity of the menu. If this were England I would be contemplating cheese on toast and scones with jam. There might be a tomato to squeeze ketchup from and a dish of tired looking sugar cubes. There would definintely be a slightly damp smell from the sea and mouldering wood. The downside of English tearooms is that they always close at 5 and you are left with a gap of two hours before the evening trade begins in pubs and restaurants. La Mallorquina is open to 9.15pm and the perfect start to any night in Madrid.