We had extremely high hopes before checking out Federal Café, a quaint café and restaurant in the Conde Duque neighborhood, and we certainly were not disappointed. Although Federal Café is known for its brunch items and hearty, yet healthy breakfast menus, we decided to steer away from the beaten path, and see what kind of vibe there was on a Friday evening.
First off, there’s a relatively massive terrace, which we’re sure will certainly come in handy in the coming spring and summer months. Although it was full when we arrived around 21h, the large windows as well as window-seats give a similar effect of being outside. The open layout of the restaurant, combined with the neutral colors of grey, white, and black, and minimalist design with splashes of color really do give off the laid-back Australian vibe that the owners, two Australian transplants, sought to achieve. For good measure, we invited an Australian friend of our own to see if Federal Café makes the cut. Spoiler alert: they certainly do.
Federal Café: The Eats
Let’s get down to the good stuff: the food, of course! Our Aussie friend died, went to heaven, and then came back to Earth so that he could continue enjoying the food. That, my friends, is saying a lot.
We started off with fried halloumi cheese and it was accompanied by a light aioli dipping sauce. It was fried and battered quite well and the taste of the cheese wasn’t over-powered by the batter or the sauce. Next, we dove into the kalamata olives sprinkled with fresh herbs and we forgot for a moment that we were in Madrid: the whole experience transported us to some sleepy Mediterranean town. As for the main course, we went in two very different directions: one of us ordered the “Hippie Burger”, a vegetarian burger patty topped with caramelized onion, (optional) provolone cheese, spinach and topped off with a free-range egg; while the other went for the kangaroo burger (yes, actual kangaroo) cooked rare and topped with chipotle mayonnaise, smoked peppers and caramelized onions. All of the burgers come with thick, home-style chips and a small green salad. They have “traditional” burgers of beef too in case you don’t fall into either polar opposites of the eating spectrum. Although they had several dessert options such as carrot cake, strawberry cake, and New York cheesecake, we were absolutely stuffed.
Federal Café is the type of place that you genuinely want to support for several reasons: for starters, the staff is personable and attentive, it feels like home when you walk in because it’s so charming and filled with regulars and newbies alike, and also because the menu has so many things that make you go, “Hmm, I wonder what that will taste like?” So Federal, you win, take our money, please take all our money. You’ve gained a few more loyal supporters here at Mad 4 Madrid.