Rubaiyat: A Delicious History That Has Conquered the World
June 19, 2018
The Spanish capital of Madrid has no shortage of things to see and do for any visitor, including some of the most famous and memorable architecture in Western Europe. Perhaps one of the finest components of Madrid, however, remains the vast array of different eateries on offer. This is something that the Luxuria Lifestyle team has had the pleasure of learning, having spent an entire week in the capital of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s almost impossible to select a favourite restaurant from the many that were visited over the course of this week, but Rubaiyat is undoubtedly a jewel in Madrid’s crown.
Any visitor to South America with a carnivorous appetite will be familiar with this name, as it comprises a chain of diners throughout the continent. Rubaiyat was first established in 1951, when a young Spaniard named Belarmino Fernandez Iglesias arrived in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo determined to make his fortune. Iglesias worked tirelessly within the restaurant industry, starting out as a dishwasher before working his way through the ranks and earning the respect and admiration of some of the most senior members of the trade. Eventually, Iglesias opened the maiden branch of Rubaiyat in Brazil before expanding throughout the continent to neighbouring nations of Argentina, Chile and Mexico. European diners, however, will need to visit Madrid to sample the mouth-watering meat dishes – a trip that is well worth making!
The proud history of Rubaiyat is evident from the moment anybody walks into the Spanish arm of the restaurant, from the minimalist and rustic décor to the extensive menu. The tables that house the astonishing food are carved from large quantities of wood, while visitors are seated upon sturdy and comfortable iron chairs. Of course, al fresco eating is a substantial element of the Iberian dining experience too, and Rubaiyat more than caters for this audience thanks to a delightful terrace surrounded by greenery.
Naturally, however, anybody visiting a restaurant such as Rubaiyat will be primarily concerned with the food. Happily, this does not disappoint. This establishment is sheer heaven for anybody with a taste for meat, offering some of the most delectable cuts in the country and bringing a touch of South America to Spain – after all, the restaurant boasts its very own Hacienda in it’s home nation of Brazil. Don’t be alarmed if you’re a meat-averse diner, however, as Rubaiyat also caters for vegetarian and vegan customers. The Capellini, served with Mushrooms, Lemon Butter and White Oil Truffle, is particularly recommended.
If it’s succulent cuts of steak that get your mouth watering, however, Rubaiyat more than has you covered. Meat is covered in the starter segment of the menu, alongside delicious bread that is hand-baked on-site in the restaurant’s stone oven. Our party opted for a seafood starter, the Octopus a Feira and Carpaccio of Portobello Mushroom. This made for a fascinating combination of flavours, and a taste sensation that you may not expect from a South American steakhouse. The Carpaccio, in particular, offered a subtle taste of Teriyaki, which whetted the appetite for the delights to come! Sausages and salads, however, are also available as appetisers.
When it comes to main courses, however, it’s all about the beef – although more seafood is also on the menu for anybody interested in something a little lighter, as are chicken and lamb dishes, or meats to share. Rubaiyat offers a slightly different style of steak to the Picanha or Sirloin that European diners know and love, known as Brangus – presumably a play on Angus Beef and the Brazilian origin of the dish. This meat is a little less luxurious than a traditional European dish but in no way any less delicious – and there are also a small selection of Argentinian meats for anybody averse to Brangus beef. Our party tucked into the Tropical Kobe Baby Beef, which was gloriously tender and really came to life with the aid of a pinch of salt. The restaurant also offers a wide range of unique side dishes, with the Soufflé-style French Fries a particular hit – a selection of fries that could be stuffed with ketchup or mustard, and arranged in the shape of a cloud!
There is also a range of desserts to enjoy – though many diners may find themselves more than satisfied with the meat feast that had been previously served! Of the sweets sampled by the Luxuria Lifestyle table, the Apple Tarte Tatin made the best impression – although plenty of compliments were also lavished upon the chocolates, tea and coffee selections. A dessert buffet is also offered to any diners visiting Rubaiyat on a Saturday, alongside a complete Feijoada with Baby Pork – an increasingly popular selection for a great many customers.
There is so much to recommend about Rubaiyat, from the glamorous but understated ambience to the exemplary service – and, naturally, the astonishing food on offer. Naturally, being a steakhouse, the menu will best serve those with a carnivorous appetite, but the restaurant does cater for anybody following a plant-based diet. Belarmino Fernandez Iglesias would surely not have expected to form such a successful and appealing international eatery in his wildest dreams when he first pitched up in South America, but the Madrid arm of Rubaiyat is a fine tribute to his vision and determination.
Written by Rafa Zurita for Luxuria Lifestyle