Editor's note: In July 2020 it was announced that Punto MX would close. In the same press announcement it was said that Mr Ruiz hopes to open a new etsablishment in the autumn.
This was my second visit to Punto MX, a place I was keen to return to since I was so impressed the first time. The restaurant is in a quiet street, with a bar area upstairs and the dining room itself in the basement. The room is smart, with wooden floor and white tablecloths, though lighting is a little gloomy in places; there is free Wi-Fi available.
The wine list starts as low as €16, with all but one wine priced under €59; sadly, the vintages were not listed. Fefinanes Albarino was €26 for a wine that retails at around €17, Jacquesson 735 champagne was €55, only a little more than the retail price, and Contador at €250 was again barely the retail price, depending on what vintage was actually on offer.
As at my previous visit, the guacamole was made to order at your table with a pestle and mortar, allowing you to adjust the proportion of coriander and lime to personal taste. This is the first clue that this not a regular Tex Mex restaurant.
The meal began with a dish that was entirely new to me. Tostada escamoles consisted of the larvae of the giant black Liometopum ant, which makes its home in the root systems of the agave plant. These were sautéed with herbs and chilli Serrano. The ant larvae (optimistically known as “desert caviar” or “insect caviar”- the dish must have its own PR agency) did not have a great deal of flavour other than a little nuttiness, and the main taste that came across was the chilli sauce. The larvae were quite soft in texture. As my mental benchmark of ant larvae dishes is rather limited I won’t score the dish, but it was pleasant enough.
Next was bison dzik, a Mayan dish involving shredded meat, traditionally cooked in an underground oven. Here the meat was marinated with lime, mandarin and blood orange and served with crisp corn tortillas and chilli sauce. The tortillas were excellent, the meat tender and the lime gave some freshness to the dish (15/20).
Next was chilaquiles, a Mexican breakfast dish where corn tortillas are cut into quarters and lightly fried as the base of the dish. A slow cooked egg was placed on top of the base, resting in a sauce involving grilled onion, tomatoes and coriander, cream and morita chilli (smoked and dried jalapeno). This was a superb dish, the sauce vibrant and spicy, going really well with the egg, the fried tortilla providing a contrasting texture to the egg (16/20).
Red tuna taco came with Serrano chili and lime salsa, the cubes of tuna of good quality, the taco excellent (14/20). The next tacos dish featured 90 day aged meat from a 14-year-old bullock from Galicia. Sirloin was used, served with Havanero chilli, coriander and onion. The beef had a lot of flavor and worked well (15/20). Sea bream with corn salt, onion, coriander, chives and chilli oil was interesting, the fish carefully cooked and the coating really lifting the flavour of the bream.
Cajeta is a crepe dish featuring goat milk candy. One crepe was crunchy and the other soft, served on a bed of pistachios with goat milk ice cream. This was a pretty and interesting dish (14/20). The coffee that finished the meal was apparently grown in Mexico itself. Service was charming throughout. The bill came to €102.80 (£84), but that was with a borderline insane amount of food. It would be entirely possible to have a meal for about half that. If you are ever in Madrid I would highly recommend Punto MX.
Further reviews: 13th Nov 2012