Brunch. That strange yet beautiful meal somewhere in between breakfast and lunch that just satisfies your soul on so many levels. Those of you that know me personally will know that for me, a day off often starts at 1pm - so you can see why brunch (sometimes verging on "brinner") is my favourite meal.
Brunch in Madrid is a relatively new phenomenon, but one that is very quickly becoming increasingly popular and popping up all over the city. Spaniards have clearly clocked on to the fact that it fits the timetable of the Spanish lifestyle pretty perfectly. Most places here do brunch up until the late afternoon, meaning you can get up quite leisurely after having come home at 7:30am from your usual Madrileñan night out.
Since arriving in Madrid in August, I've explored as many brunches as my stomach has possibly been able to handle, and I'm yet to be disappointed. I do, however, seem to keep going back to one in particular, and that is at Federal. Nothing beats it in terms of the quality and range of food, the value for money, and the laid-back atmosphere. Plus, they do avocado on toast with poached eggs. It won me over 10 seconds into reading the menu.
The brunch menu caters to all tastes, from granolas to croissants, french toast to toasted sandwiches, and morning hamburgers to eggs, however you like them. They've also got a huge selection of fresh juices, smoothies and milkshakes, all kinds of coffee and tea (they do an amazing chai latte), and alcoholic beverages for the more adventurous. What's great about Federal is that the menu also notes down the allergens in each dish. My "gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free" friend was seriously happy to find they offer gluten-free bread and vegan smoothies.
But it's not just the morning that Federal does well. It is open all day, every day, and the menu changes for lunch and dinner to offer some more hearty meals, like their amazing halloumi sandwich. There is also a great selection of cakes, brownies, and other sweet treats that are baked fresh each day. The low coffee tables are perfect for a drink and a chat, individual tables for a bite with friends, and a communal table for reading a magazine and striking up a conversation with a stranger from half-way across the world. The free wifi also makes it a good place to spend hours working. During the summer months, the floor to ceiling windows are opened wide, and you can choose to sit on the window sills or even out in the square.
Federal Madrid is in fact the second of its kind, with the first café having opened in Barcelona. Named after a small town in New South Wales, Australia, Federal oozes a relaxed Spanish atmosphere, but is coated with the style and simplicity of an Australian or even Nordic café. It is located in Conde Duque on Plaza Comendadoras, just on the edge of the city's lively barrio of Malasaña. It's popular with expats and locals, and the friendly staff speak both Spanish and English, making it a perfect choice if you're visiting the city or are a true madrileño looking for your next foodie adventure.
Address: Plaza de las Comendadoras, 9.
Info: Open 7 days a week, breakfast until 1pm on weekdays and brunch until 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.