State of the art
A trip to Bilbao can not be complete without visiting the highly praised restaurant: Azurmendi. A fine dining restaurant with 3 Michelin Stars and awarded place no.16 from the World's 50 Best restaurant in the 2016 edition. The cooking is modern Basque in essence, with a touch of creativity and flair. The restaurant also has multiple gardens to grow its own produces as well as a vineyard. What is fun about Azurmendi is that guest won't be taken to the dining from the start, instead, they will be taken to the kitchen with canapes and welcome drink followed by a visit to its greenhouse to sample more snacks first.
|Frozen olive and vermouth|
|Egg, cooked inside out and truffled|
|Oysters, tartar and seaweed traces|
|Tomatoes... local varieties and anchovies|
We opted for the "Adarrk tasting menu" and it was dishes after dishes of outstanding cooking. Highlight includes an truffled egg that had a smooth and silky texture with bags of wonderful bold and robust earthy flavours. The tomato dish showcased the elegant side of tomato, very fresh with a bright sharpness that tickled my taste bud, while the the oily and rich texture of the anchovies acted as a lovely contrast. The roasted lobster dish tasted as good as it looks, moist and light in texture yet blessed with delightful fresh and luxurious flavours, it was a dish full of sensation. The final savoury course was as good as pigeon can get, the meat was so tender and the bitter sweet level of the pigeon had a perfect balance, the side of foir gras and pigeon consomme offered extra boldness while remaining surprisingly clean to the palate.
|Roasted lobster out of the shell, its crunch and mayonnaise|
|“Castañetas” pork glazed in its juice with “Etxano” Cheese|
|Fried Hake, roasted red pepper infusion and parsley|
|Pigeon, green beans and duxelle|
|Watermelon, coriander and pineapple|
|Peach and lavender|
|Chocolate, peanut and liquorice|
The Azurmendi experience was truly special, it was far more than just a meal. It was a wonderful journey that I have never quite encountered before. The cooking was exceptional, as was the service, our waiter was simply faultless with the finest attention to detail while remaining humble. Besides the meal costed £170, I actually think it was very value for money given the sheer quality of the cooking, as well as the setting of the restaurant plus the world class service. Azurmendi offered me perhaps the very best meal of my life so far and just like what the Michelin guide said, this place is worth a special journey.
What I paid: £170 per head with a glass of wine
Average cost without drinks and services:
Legina Auzoa, 48195 Larrabetzu, Spain