Thursday, 1 March 2018

Amelia, Donostia / San Sebastián #1MichelinStar

Born in Argentina from Italian heritage, chef Paulo Airaudo is a truly global chef. He has worked in the UK, notably at The Fat Duck and Restaurant Adam Simmons, and held a Michelin star at La Bottega in Switzerland. In addition to this, his food borrows heavily from French and Nordic influences.

Having previously worked at Arzak, in 2017, Paulo returned with his family to open Amelia, named after his daughter. Within seven months of opening, Michelin awarded the restaurant its first star.

Not a “Spanish restaurant”, Amelia offers locals and food savvy travellers in Donostia / San Sebastián something different.

What Michelin say, “This centrally located restaurant, with its unusual contemporary-industrial decor, embodies the unique skill of Paulo Airaudo, an Argentinian chef whose family originally hails from Italy. The focus here is on the very best seasonal products and refined culinary skill that will fascinate guests. A visit to his kitchen is included!”

Langoustine, red pepper & chard / Cigala, pimiento rojo y acelga

Celeriac, egg & truffle / Apio nabo, huevo y trufa

Our bread with butter, EVOO & chicken liver / Nuestro pan, mantequilla, aceite de olivio y paté de higado de pollo

Squid ink risotto with oyster leaf / Risotto al nero di sepia

Chicken wings & onion / Alitas de pollo y cebolla

Red mullet, artichoke, shrimp & citrus butter / Salmonete, alcachofa y gambas

Veal sweetbreads black garlic & carrots / Mollejas, ajo negro y zanahorias

Duck, pickled cauliflower & sprouts / Pato, coliflor y col de Bruselas

The cheese – Goat’s cheese with sweet potato caramel / El queso

Apple, fennel & camomile / Manzana, hinojo y manzanilla


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Arzak – #3MichelinStars #Worlds50Best

A perennial of World’s 50 Best Restaurants and recipient of 3 Michelin Stars, for a long-time, Arzak has been amongst the pivotal places that make Donostia / San Sebastián one of the hottest destinations in the world to enjoy fine foods.

Situated a litle out of San Sebastian’s pintxo packed old town, for over a hundred years, generations the Arzak family have contributed to making the restaurant the bastion of Basque cuisine that it is today.

Arzak is undoubtedly founded on tradition but now sits at the forefront of modernity thanks to the visionary Juan Mari and his supremely talented daughter, Elena – on the day of my visit, both Juan and Elena were in house, taking turns to oversee the pass, plus warmly meet, greet and chat to diners at their tables.

At Arzak, most diners opt for the tasting menu, however, after chatting to the front of house team, I opted to construct a bespoke tasting menu from modified versions of à la carte dishes. A wise decision as it afforded me an opportunity to try a wide selection of dishes that piqued my interests and tastes.

I’d visited Arzak previously, but this meal was the best yet!

Moringa and prawn gyoza

Banana and squid

Urban seafood and “talo”

“Cecina” and Kalamata

Maseca corn honey and foie

“Oysters pinned to the grill”
– Oysters pinned over the coals, cooked in their natural juices with fermented garlic, onions, vanilla and cacao.

Kokotxas en su onda
“Kokotxas on their own wavelength”
– Grilled hake chins on a coconut and turmeric spiral with “pearl” and squid crisps.

– Baby eels and codium seaweed.

Merluza con pinturas de garbanzos
“Hake with chickpea paints”
– Hake accompanied by spinach, turmeric and colourful pickled vegetable paints.

Cubo de patata con trufa fresca rellena
“Potato cube with truffle and egg yolk”

Ave de invierno con plumas de tomate
“Winter bird (wild pigeon) with tomato feathers”
– Roasted fowl accompanied by goji berries, dried tomatoes, cherry acorns and its own roasting juices.

Tónico balear con hibiscus
“Balearic tonic with hibiscus”
– Over a beetroot crumble, hibiscus ice cream with melon juice and dried bergamot and sumac meringue.

“Chut” de chocolate
Chocolate “Bang”
– Chocolate pistol with black current filling.

Petit frogs

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