Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, dinner

Menu from a dinner at the three Michelin-starred Azurmendi in Larrabetzu, with mostly new dishes and a few classics:

[Artichoke cracker with citrus gel]


[Pumpkin-parmesan butter biscuit]

[Asparagus cotton]

[Avocado bonbon]

[Pickled courgette]

Homemade salted anchovy millefeuille

Roe and dill


Hibiscus Infusion

Chestnut leaf

[Frozen olive on black olive soil]

Egg from our hens, cooked inside out and truffled (2009)

Oyster, tartar and geleé (2015)

Natural spider crab, emulsion and infusion (2015)

Tomato and eel (2015)

Roasted lobster out of the shell on herbs oil and chives (2010)

Artichokes and pesto (2015)

Stewed wheat with farmhouse milk emulsion and ox tail (2015)

Roasted red mullet on vine shoots, fried eggs and the broth of the bones (2015)

[Mandarin emulsion]

Rabbit confit, mushrooms emulsion and grilled sweet potato (2015)

Coconut and passion (2015)

Cheese, red fruits and mint (2015)

Sheep milk and black olives (2015)

Petits fours

After about an hour getting lost on the way out of Bilbao, we finally found our way to Azurmendi. It’s my third time to the restaurant and my second visit of the year. This time, I brought my parents for a birthday supper.

I had been to the restaurant just a month earlier so was delighted to find plenty of new dishes to try on the Adarrak menu. But of course, there were some old classics like the truffled hen’s egg.

Among my favourite was the roasted lobster out of the shell on herbs oil and chives – its striking colour immediately tickling the taste buds. And the flavours, oh I tried to recreate them at home but I feel it might be one committed to memory.

Another favourite was the tomato and eel. The delicate profile of the vine fruit really shown through with the gentle treatment – especially when it was served with the tomato sorbet.

I think it is perhaps my favourite restaurant in the place right now.

See photos from my visit in 2015 and 2013.

Gravner Wine Maker’s Dinner at George, Mayfair

Menu from a dinner at Mayfair members’ club George with Mateja Gravner with natural wines made in qvevries from Josko Gravner and regional food created by the in-house chef to match:

Grilled Porcini mushrooms, garlic, shallot and parsley

Gravner Ribolla 2007 Venezua Giulia IGT

Prune and Gravner gnocchi, cinnamon crumb

Gravner Bianco Breg 2007 Venezia Giulia IGT

Scallop and mushroom gratin

Gravner Bianco Breg ‘Anfora’ 2006 Venezia Giulia IGT

Wild game rambasicci, roasted celeriac, celeriac rémoulade

Gravner Bianco Breg 1998 Collio DOC

Potato soufflé, pine nuts, raisins and spice

Gravner Rosso Breg 2004

It’s the first time I had dinner at George and I was really impressed.

Although a quintessentially English member’s club, the chef has managed to take influences from the Middle East, on its usual menu, and Italy, as in this case here. What was amazing was that the chef has taken the tasting notes from the cuisine of the region where Gravner Wines are based – close to the border of Slovenia – and woven them into menu.

The gnocchi for example, is a stuffed croquette that’s regional to the area where the wine is made. And of course, all Italians have a great love for Porcini mushrooms and these were generous and very fresh.

Akelarre, San Sebastian, lunch

Aranori tasting menu from a lunch at Pedro Subijana’s three Michelin-starred Akelarre in San Sebastian:

Just to begin:

Bloody Mary

Stuffed mussel

Potato and prawn amber

Anchovy stuffed black olive


The leaves and the foie under the rain

Green broth infusion, scampi and smoked monkfish

Very thin and light beef tartar, new potato soufflé and aromatic herb bread

Hake and its kokotxa with oyster leaf

Squid as a risotto, butter flower

Roasted suckling pic, ‘bone’ and Iberian emulsion

‘Xaxu’ and coconut iced mousse

The broke jar of yoghurt, ‘gatzatua’ and berries

When you meet someone for the first time, you have an impression of what they might be like. For chefs, this translates into the food. Pedro Subijana, with his huge moustache and portly stature, gave me the idea that his food might be a sort of stuffy, traditionalist take on a three-star menu. But the reality was so far from it.

I went with the Aranori, a menu of mostly new dishes at the restaurant as I was keen to see creativity – and it was exactly what I was shown from beginning to end.

I still remember the delicate flavours of the ‘rain’ in the first dish and how every vein was painted on a ‘leaf’ of foie – the attention to detail of which caused an exclamation to escape unexpectedly. The green broth infusion that came next highlighted the very essence of a seafood dish, without the overwhelming richness. Its clarity was like drinking a fine green tea. And then there was the squid as a risotte, blackened with its ink. It’s so precisely flavoured that you felt there was something missing – until you stir in the perfectly styled rose made of butter.

I paid 175€ for the menu, plus very reasonably priced and considered drinks and service. It’s not the cheapest three-star tasting menu in the area, nor the most expensive. But it was worth every cent.

#AtxaAndreRicard at Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, six hands dinner

Menu from a six-hands dinner at the three Michelin-starred Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, with food by Eneko Atxa (Azurmendi), André Chiang (Restaurant André) and Ricard Camarena (Restaurant Ricard Camarena) and fermented juices (from André Chiang) and wines matched to the food:


Asparagus cotton
[Pickled courgette]
Mushroom leaf

(Eneko Atxa)


Homemade salted anchovy millefeuille
Roe and dill

(Eneko Atxa)


Fried egg and mushrooms (Eneko Atxa)

Onion and begihaundi broth (Eneko Atxa)

Valencian oyster, avocado, sesame and galangal horchata (Ricard Camarena)

Dining room

Flame roasted eggplant and caramelised in tuna fat, rillete and tuna belly (Ricard Camarena)

Natural spider crab, emulsion and infusion (Eneko Atxa)

Charcoal, squid and piquillos (André Chiang)

Rice, buckwheat and barley (André Chiang)

Stewed wheat with farmhouse milk emulsion and ox tail (Eneko Atxa)

Warm baby bean stew, kokotxas and hake and tomato infusion (Ricard Camarena)

Pine, charcoal and fermented apple (André Chiang)

[Memory: foie gras emulsion, truffle coulis and raw olive oil (André Chiang)]

Pigeon, duxelle and cauliflower (Eneko Atxa)

Corn, malt and vanilla (André Chiang)

Orange, strawberry and ginger (Eneko Atxa)

[Non-alcoholic sake (André Chiang)]

Tree ripened mango, cold curry, seeds and herbs (Ricard Camarena)

Sheep milk and black olives (Eneko Atxa)

Petit fours (Eneko Atxa)

Cuisson London popdown dinner

Menu from a ‘popdown’ from Cuisson London with food by Pedro Passinhas:

Cuisson cocktail

Cultured butter, sourdough

Ratte potatoes, hay, blue cheese, grelot onion

Chicken parfait, charred pineapple, walnuts

Slow cooked salmon, horseradish cream, watercress

Lychee and mango bavarois, strawberry, black olive

Popups are no longer trendy. Once the cool word to be brandished by any would-be restaurateur, it’s starting to draw reactions that echo ‘not another one’.

So instead of a popup, Cuisson London decided to do a popdown – that is, a popup in the basement of a Haymarket building.

The chef, Pedro Passinhas, trained with a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants, including The Fat Duck, Le Gavroche and The Square, so the food had a lot of promise. And indeed, judging by the menu, a lot of care has been taken to source lesser known ingredients.

The kitchen was open so diners can look in at what the chef was doing – something that a few diners were happy to get involved in. Others, meanwhile, preferred to stay in their seats.

For me, the food was inventive and interesting. I especially enjoyed the potatoes.

But the showpiece was definitely the dessert. A huge platter of sweet things that delighted the eyes and the palate.

I was the guest of my friend but at £39 per person for those four courses plus bread and cocktails, it’s much better value than any supperclub I’ve tried.