José Certucha (30) and Carmen Alti (27) met at DSTAgE, Diego Guerrero's gastronomic restaurant that boasts two Michelin stars. For a year, this tandem of chefs has been working a few blocks from this space, but in a radically different concept. "There we had the feeling that the people we served did not represent us; our families were never able to come and try what we were doing because they couldn't afford it," says José. With this shared runrún in their heads, it was only a matter of time before they set up something on their own. "Having that feeling every day wears you down a lot."

After DSTAgE they flew to other kitchens. The last stage, before becoming independent, were in the group of Dani García. Carmen, in Bibo Madrid; José, in Smoked Room. The desire for independence, to turn everything upside down, arose in the middle of the pandemic. "In our case, the break allowed us to think calmly about what we wanted to do." All sorts of options were raised. "Even make a sandwich place," they recall with a laugh. With a clear idea, yes, base: "Democratize technique and creativity. We believe that you do not have to pay 220 euros to offer a careful and different proposal".

Pickled oyster.

The most complicated of those beginnings was to look for a place. "Space was what was going to define our project to a large extent"; they kicked all over Madrid, "from Las Vistillas to Vallecas," says Carmen, but La Llorería found its place in Chueca. "Before, this was a classic bar, with zero aspect of being able to do something cool there: with granite walls, bar of a lifetime," says José. They liked that from any point of the bar you could see everything that happened in it.

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With no bank behind it and no credit on the horizon, they turned it around from top to bottom. "We have always been very aware of our limitations," they say humbly. They have pulled their savings and a good dose of imagination when the budget has been tight." You give a lot of thought to all the decisions and fine-tune even in the slightest."

Bar with high chairs and low table area.

A year ago they opened their business and the reception in the neighborhood (and outside it) has been more than remarkable. In these months there has been a lot of trial and error and along the way they have changed what did not work. "The first day we opened I think we gave the worst service of our lives," Carmen acknowledges. They were in the kitchen and hired a waiter for the dining room who did not have much experience. "It was a disaster." Within a month, they changed thirds. "We decided to split up. One of us would be in the living room and another, in the kitchen, "says Carmen, who has engraved that bumpy debut. They hired another chef and pushed ahead. "Jesus Encinas joined the team, whom we already knew from our time at DSTAgE and had been in Bibo with Carmen."

The letter is written on a blackboard.

The project was managed only by the three cooks. "It was also a way to force us to talk to customers," José acknowledges. Explaining the dishes and offering a careful service does not have to be only available to those who pay more. "You come here to eat, to enjoy, but we also want you to know what you put on the table." This attempt to communicate more and better with diners also influenced the way of approaching the menu with dishes that are defined with three ingredients or products. "In the end, you have to explain what's behind each of them."

The hit of the house takes it from the street until today its Cauliflower-Bacon-Puntillitas. "It is a very sweet and surprising dish. The Iberian pork bacon everyone likes, the raisin gives it the sweet touch, a French curry that fits very well ... and the little dot that never fails. It's a kitchen that changes the format of things." With an average ticket of 40-50 euros, they offer ten dishes, which they collect on a blackboard, and an off-menu, the jarrete, the only one of which they do not have half a portion. The proposal, another of the signs of La Llorería, invites you to try and share many tasty bites.

Tongue, mussels and slingshots

The bar, with capacity for eight diners, serves as a kitchen throughout the service. In it the team works in view of the clients. "We choose a lot of seasonal product," says Carmen. While they say goodbye to the asparagus from the menu, they are already working on a plate of bonito that they will soon incorporate into the menu. "We've never completely changed the menu; we usually add a couple of new things every month and a half," says Carmen. At the tables they have capacity for another 12 people.

Another memorable snack: Tomato-Miso-Noisette, a salad with an emulsion in the base of toasted butter and white miso, with cherry marinated in salt and sugar that surprises with its flavor. Oyster lovers should try the one they prepare with pickled chicken wings and jalapeño. You can not leave out of this list the Corvina-Ají amarillo-Pack choi, intense and original in equal parts and proof of a cuisine difficult to label. In the liquid part, small wineries predominate and there is a good representation of natural wines.

The name of the place plays with the saying "to cry to the crying", but here the only tears that you can skip are of joy and linked to a kitchen without complexes and where the family does have a place.

La Llorería: San Lorenzo, 4.

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