Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mugaritz: 22 Courses Hangover Food

Heads pounding like crazy and dehydration at a severe level when we wake up the next morning. But there was nothing that could stop us from making our lunch at Mugaritz (ranked at number 4 for best restaurant in the world). We finally manage to pull ourselves together and drive safely to lunch. After a disappointing dinner last night at Akelare we desperately hoped this would live up to our expectations.

Right after sitting down we were whisked off for a tour of the kitchen so we could watch the chefs work. I loved this. The chefs were all young and very passionate about food and you can tell immediately just by the way they spoke and how engaged they are when explaining food and ingredients to you. 

After the quick tour in the kitchen we take our seats. Our waiters spoke to us in English so that no body felt left out and he made sure that we were all having fun. I hate stiff restaurants so this was amazing. 
"Today you will get a 22 courses tasting menu. If there is anything you would like us to change please let us know" our waiter said. 
"This is going to be an interesting hangover meal" I hear one of the boys say. 

Remedy. Hair of the dog.
Our cool sommelier. Pure. 
Have you ever eaten rocks?
Just kidding! It's a potato rock

All lobster

 Ten courses down and 3 bottles of wine later we were feeling much better. The waiter came over and told us that he had a game for us to play. Who ever guessed the correct number of pebbles on the table wins a generous serving of caviar. Greed took over me immediately and I desperately wanted to win. I didn't. Armenio won but being the gentleman that he was he shared half his winnings with me.

The winner and his prize
Supposed to feel like Shark fin 

18 courses had passed and it was time for dessert. Our hangover state had turned back into drunk again. Our waiter asked if we would like to take our dessert courses outside in the garden so we can enjoy the late afternoon sun. It's like they are reading our minds!

Wine over. Back to G&T.
The best gin and tonic I've ever had. Not sure what leaf it is though
Saad reviewing the leaf

Our last dessert. 7 tier for the 7 sins. We had to guess which sins belong to which dessert.

Happily full and tipsy we were feeling very happy that afternoon. It will be a meal I shall never forget. Not only was the food amazing and innovative but it was the experience that you feel when you dine here. You feel part of something special. The only time I have ever felt like this was when I dined at Noma. If you are ever in the Basque Country, do whatever it takes to get a reservation here. You will not regret.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

San Sebastian Day 1

This pass weekend we went on a culinary trip to San Sebastian, a beautiful seaside town in the Basque Country famous for having the highest density of Michelin Stars per square meter. The north of Spain is known for its food and this is exactly why we have come. Apart from what we saw during our car rides, we did absolutely no sightseeing. Our day consisted of eating, drinking, more eating, more drinking and sleeping. 

Our first stop is a beautiful riverside restaurant called Bedua in Zumaia (20 mins drive from San Seb) that Carlos claims serves the best meat in the world (I know, very bold. Argentines beware). The restaurant's ingredients are as organic as can be. They grow everything themselves and even breed their own cows for meat and ducks for foie gras. Unfortunately I don't eat steak or beef that raw but I did hear a lot of 'mmmm' and 'oh my god' from the boys. Hahaha I just reread that sentence and it made me laugh. 

Growing their own salad

The best roasted peppers I've ever had in my life!!
Fried milk

After the long boozy lunch we head back to San Sebastian to get ready for our dinner at Akelarre a 3 michelin star restaurant. Now I am not here to sugar coat anything, but I can't say I was excited by the food here. In fact I was actually very surprised it has 3 stars, I would award it 1 if I were feeling generous. The staff I felt were a little unprofessional and not up to the standard I would expect from a 3 starred restaurant. They did not explain the food to us in English and left it to our Spanish friends to do the job for them. The food was mediocre and did not excite me or my fellow diners. None of the dishes got us talking. The best thing about the place though is it's view, but then again by 9:30pm the sun is down and you are left with a boring dining room with very cheap looking chairs. 

10 seconds to sunset

Chef Pedro Subijana of Akelare
Four hours had passed and we couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. We went to a bar and got smashed. Some more than others...

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