Basque cooking in London
|Iberico ham, suckling pig, crispy pork jowl|
When I heard Eneko was launching in London, I was really excited. No less because it is from the same team behind the much celebrated 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Spain: Azurmendi. I have just returned from a very special meal at Azurmendi, it was truly incredible but Eneko was a completely difference beast, from the concept, style of cooking to the decor. It was just not comparable. The menu was a la carte format with a far more traditional approach. The style of cooking was Basque in principal, with a twist of modern element in the mix. The restaurant itself was located inside the 5 star hotel, One Aldwych. the funky decor actually reminded me of the famous art museum Guggenheim in Bilbao.
The "Txerri Boda Pork Festival" was basically 3 pieces of pork pintxos. the crispy pork jowl was the most enjoyable out of the 3, soft meat texture with a killer crispy skin, however I did found the portion a bit too tiny at £15. The main of hake was cooked in tempura which became perhaps one of the finest "battered fish" I have encountered. The fish was moist and silkily smooth, the skin was very crispy but not oily and I really enjoyed the parsley emulsion which added a lovely pepper and fresh tone to the dish. The Iberico presa was such a steak treat, cooked medium rare as it should be, very tender and full of delightful richness. Dessert was the weak point of the meal, for me, the raspberry macaroon was fairly standard and the texture of the macaroon could be a touch lighter.
|Basque style hake in tempura, confit vegetables, |
red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion
|Roasted Iberico presa, wheat in chickpea sauce, garlic cream|
|Basque vanilla cake and |
raspberry macaron with basil ganache
Over the last couple of years, we have seen some heavy weight chefs outside the UK opening restaurant in London, mostly failed to adapt and it is too early to consider Eneko to be either a success or failure at this stage. Personally I found the cooking was fairly interesting and most importantly, it tasted great. But the price is very premium and the the portion sizes are tiny. Even with the 50% off discount, my meal still costed £40 and that would shoot up to the £70 mark without the offer. It is still early days for Eneko to get used to the dining culture and environment in London, and I am sure it can only get better given more time.
What I paid:
£40 pp with a cocktail (soft launch offer)
Average cost without drinks and services:
One Aldwych London, London WC2B 4BZ