Arzak

Dinner on our last night in San Sebastian was at Arzak. Much has been written in the culinary world about the father and daughter duo at the helm, Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina. Unlike our feast at Mugaritz, this was *only* seven courses, and I can tell you, given how much we had eaten in the three days leading up to dinner, we were somewhat relieved! As usual, I asked for the degustation without seafood or offal, which they were more than happy to oblige.

To start, we were brought an array of tasting dishes, including chorizo with tonic (at the front of the photo below) …

Photo 11-05-13 9 08 10 PM

… bitter raspberry juice topped with melon and jamon …

Photo 11-05-13 9 08 30 PM

… kabrarroka (a kind of fish) pudding wrapped in kataifi pastry and …

Photo 11-05-13 9 08 48 PM

… anchovy and strawberry.

Photo 11-05-13 9 11 19 PM

For the first course, I had the different interpretations of corn with crumbed balls of black pudding. The corn was delicious and I have to say, had I known at the time it was black pudding, I probably wouldn’t have eaten it, but it was actually delicious. When it was served they were described as crumbed sausage, which technically they were!

Photo 11-05-13 9 24 10 PM

D had the cromlech, manioc and huitlacoche. Cromlech is the word used to describe the shape of the food (which was made out of crispy manioc, otherwise known as cassava) and filled with onion, green tea and foie gras. The idea was to pick it up with the filling inside, and eat it with your hands.

Photo 11-05-13 9 24 28 PM

Next I had seasonal vegetables, including asparagus, peas and radish. For me, the theme of the no seafood/offal courses for the whole trip was pretty much asparagus and peas – good thing I like them!

Photo 11-05-13 9 37 51 PM

D had a plate of lobster, presented in an unusual way, including clothes pegs! The lobster was served with crispy hemp bread and mustard vinaigrette. D said this course was some of the best lobster he’s eaten, and the only time he’s ever seen clothes pegs on a plate at a restaurant! I’d say it’s likely to be the last, too.

Photo 11-05-13 9 38 24 PM

The third course for me was quite amazing. Called ‘ovo-lacto’, it was an egg with a semi crunchy shell, accompanied by gorgonzola, lactic leaves and curds.

Photo 11-05-13 9 50 12 PM

My course paled in significance to D’s! We had seen this green dome being delivered to other tables and hoped we’d get a chance to see what lay beneath – monkfish. The dome itself was edible; puffed rice, if memory serves.

Photo 11-05-13 10 01 36 PM

Photo 11-05-13 10 02 44 PM

We both then moved on to beef – grilled rib eye with cous cous. The beef was tender and cooked to perfection.

Photo 11-05-13 10 01 44 PM

Our final savoury course was lamb accompanied by fried grapes and longans. Just like the beef, the lamb was tender and cooked to perfection, and the longans added a really nice flavour and texture  to the dish.

Photo 11-05-13 10 20 01 PM

There were four desserts on the menu and they split them between us so that we could try all four. The first dessert was marbles of chocolate served with amaranth and oregano sauce. This course didn’t do much for either of us.

Photo 11-05-13 10 40 18 PM

 

Next was white chocolate flavoured with parsley, filled with dark chocolate and served with Frangelico and Aperol balls – the balls were liquid in the centre, so when you bit into one, you had a rather large flavour explosion happen in your mouth!

Photo 11-05-13 10 40 40 PM

Caramelized fruit served with black sesame bread, and pepper and licorice ‘ladybirds’ filled with yoghurt and olive oil. How stunning is that plate.

Photo 11-05-13 11 01 56 PM

Enriched melon with wrinkled tomatoes, sumac, lime and chia seeds. Tomato in a dessert? Not for me, thanks.

Photo 11-05-13 11 02 14 PM

To finish, we were brought an array of chocolates representing a hardware store. Cute and delicious.

Photo 11-05-13 11 18 56 PM

Towards the end of the evening Juan Mari came out and said hello to us at our table which was a nice touch. He was hanging around downstairs when we left, so I managed to snag a photo with him 🙂

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner here but weren’t blown away. The service was great and the meat and the fish were all perfectly cooked, and while we can appreciate how much work went into creating each course, some of the flavour combinations didn’t do too much for our tastebuds. We left wanting more than we got, but I guess you can’t win them all.

Advertisements

One thought on “Arzak

  1. Pingback: Barcelona | Mmmm, sugar. It's all about the sweet things in life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s