Sunday, 10 October 2021

MiMi Mei Fair

Round 2 same feel?


Steamed Dover Sole in picked chili and soy


I have been to MiMi during its launch period, the fine dining Chinese joint appeared done some good PR work at launch with many food influencers and celebrities has already visited and gathered some great endorsements. The general consumers' reviews from what I can see online have also been pretty positive too so I was expecting good things for my second round. From my first visit, while I wasn't overly impressed with everything, there were great tasting dishes and since the menu is pretty big, I got my eyes on a few more dishes I would like to try so I decided to return 1 month later and hoping for an improved experience. 

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Akelare

Refined Basque cuisine with a stunning view


Akelare

This is my second visit to Akelare, one of the most celebrated restaurants in San Sebastian, with 3 Michelin stars and part of the Relais and Chateaux association, meaning it guarantees a very special experience. The menu hasn't actually changed much vs my first visit from about 5 years ago, I came here for the state of the art service and its unique offering: A stunning seaside view overlooking the Biscay sea, not many places can rival its beautiful setting. The restaurant has now also added a terrace, great for a drink or something a bit more casual if a full-on tasting menu is not your cup of tea. As that is the only offering from the main restaurant.

Mugaritz

Empire's new cloth?


First kiss natura

Mugaritz is world-famous, and one of the most hyped-up restaurants with its progressive, experimental fine-dining approach. The restaurant has always heavily featured in the top 10 within the World 50 Best list, with 2 Michelin stars to its name. Chef-owner Andoni Aduriz is a global superstar chef, appear on TVs and magazines countless time and aspire young chefs from around the world. The philosophy of the restaurant means the restaurant would shut down for 3 months a year to develop new concepts for the year, which means every year you would get something totally different than the last. The restaurant offers a tasting menu and nothing else, with about 22 courses.

Elkano

Seafood legend


Red mullet

Located in a little fishing town Getaria in the Basque Country, Elkano has somehow become one of the hardest restaurants to book in the world. The restaurant is known for its grill fishes done in a refined manner and got itself a Michelin star and rated in no 30 in the World 50 Best list. Booking a table at Elkano has become almost mission impossible but with Covid has slowed down tourism, I was fortunate enough to secure a table. Elkano is all about seafood and it now has a blind tasting menu on offer, you just need to tell the waiter what you are keen to eat and the chef will prepare a 12-course menu using the freshness local ingredient.

Restaurante Kokotxa

Basque fine dining done properly


Oyster, fennel, txakoli

Within San Sebastian's old town, there are so many great choices for good value, high-quality food. But what if you want to take a break from the casual pintxo bars, and up the game with a proper Basque-style fine dining experience? There are a few Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian to pick from, if you can't be bothered to travel and keep within the city itself, then without a doubt Kokotxa would be my no 1 pick easily. The restaurant's dining room is nothing fancy or formal, but the food offering here is outstanding. I only revisit the same fine dining restaurants if they are really special, and Kokotxa happened to be one of them.

Bar Nestor

Beef and tomato temple


Tortilla

If you are a foodie and have a keen interest in visiting the Basque Country in Spain, then you most likely have heard of the legendary Bar Nestor in San Sebastian. The little bar only offers a few things on its menu but has done them all exceptionally well. The infamous tortilla is especially in demand as it only offers 20 portions per service. The full experience of Bar Nestor would be the tortilla, followed by tomato salad and fried peppers, before finishing off with the txuleta chop steak, which comes from retired dairy old cows from the Basque country.  something really rare and you would usually only be able to find in Northern Spain.

La Cuchara de San Telmo

 The best pinxto bar in San Sebastian?


Roasted hake, sweet onion and garlic


When I was doing my research on where to eat at San Sebastian, and which place is worth going back to from my previous trips to there, one place stood out and that was La Cuchara de San Telmo. The tiny pintxo bar within the old town has less than 20 seats but is one of the most popular and highly rated pintxo bars in San Sebastian, I was really impressed with the quality of the cooking from my first visit back in 2018. While I hate no booking restaurants and hate queuing up for food, I would happily make an exception for a place like La Cuchara de San Telmo. For my second visit, it took me about 20 minutes to wait before securing seating.

Bar Sport San Sebastian

Casual all-day pintxo bar  


Sea urchin cream

Located in the heart of San Sebesain Old Town, Bar Sport is a little bar that serves classic pintxos. Unlike many other traditional pintxo bars in the city, Bar Sport opens from the morning till late, with no rest between lunch and dinner. This is a popular joint for both the locals and tourists, the menu contains around 30 dishes so there are plenty of choices for sure. With Covid limitation, the bar no longer allows standing with table service only across the whole space. For my visit, I ordered a selection of pintxos which are considered the signature from Bar Sport.

Borda Berri

Cook to order pintxos joint


Beef cheek

San Sebastian is full of amazing restaurants and pintxo bars, you can eat really well with very little, with many dishes costing around the 3 Euro mark while a glass of wine could be as little as 1 Euro. Pintxo is a must-try when you visit the Basque country, however, there are so many choices in Old Town San Sebastian, it is hard to decide which one to try. For me, Borda Berri stands out as all the pintxos are cooked to order instead of pre-cooked which you would see in most other places. The short menu with about 12 dishes also means the chef can really focus on perfecting those dishes without spreading themselves too thin.