It is important to keep in mind that we visited Azurmendi last after a four day extravaganza of eating that began with Arzak, took in Rekondo and featured innumerable pintxos bars, alongside other wonderful restaurants, snack bars and market stalls. At the time I think I came close to feeling like I might never need to eat again, despite rationally knowing that one day, far in the future, I might.
Thinking back, remembering the flavours and looking at the photos, Eneko Atxa's cuisine was truly lovely. True, there were some, perhaps more Spanish (or Basque?), notes that were less well received by our table. And there were rather over dramatic presentation skills from the maître d'. But the tasting menu was well balanced, thoughtfully put together and skillfully executed. Overall it was impressive.
We opted for the shorter of the two tasting menus available but added in a little lobster course from the longer menu. In my opinion it was too much for lunch, particularly after the four days prior. I would however love to return another time, sacrifice the wonderful views and go for dinner.
Here's what we ate:
|The shorter Erroak menu with everything but the lobster.|
|Glass fronted restaurant entrance, maximising gloriously expansive views over the lush green valley below.|
|The kitchen garden, which turned out to be more for show than function but was lovely nonetheless.|
|The light and airy interior, with privacy for tables cleverly created using printed pull down screens.|
|Confit lobster wrapped in Iberian ham with spring onion emulsion and with essential herbs from the garden. Deliciously soft poached lobster paired with meaty Spanish ham. An excellent little mouthful.|
|Raw oyster dotted with salicornia seaweed, slippery tremella mushrooms cooked in seawater and salty-crisp anemone seaweed tempura...|
|...with natural aromas from the sea.|
|A very long, not particularly necessary, story about a chestnut tree...|
|Well hello there, a box...|
|...with chestnuts in it of course. Despite my snarkiness, these were really very delicious. A milk chocolate chestnut shell with chestnut cream inside, nestled on a bed of 'ash' made from dehydrated chestnut skins.|
|Petit fours - apple purèe sandwiched in salty and sweet nougat-like crisp, a kind of rice flour biscuit with popped rice and nuts, and the winner - a silvered passion fruit filled ball of chocolate.|
|We came, we dined, we left a lot of glasses.|