Aug 27, '10

Under the oak of Mugaritz

Mugaritz pebbles
” Mugaritz pebbles .. or maybe eggs, it depends on your imagination”

Andoni Luis Aduriz belongs to a generation of chefs who have a story to tell through their cooking. The story of Mugaritz is a story of  Nature. The restaurant’s name in Basque means “oak” (“haritza” ) and “frontier” (“muga”). It is literally situated on a frontier of two villages 15 minutes drive from San Sebastian. The first amuse bouche you are served with you glass of cava are pebbles placed on black sand that are in fact boiled potatoes which you eat with some mayonnaise.

Andoni Luis Aduriz
Andoni Luis Aduriz
Mugaritz

By ” a new generation of chefs” I mean the similarities of the philosophies of  Mugaritz and  Noma for example (and I suppose  Michel Bras too, but I’ve never been there so I am not 100% sure). At Mugaritz, as well as at Noma there is a certain puristic approach to the interpretation of various products and to nature in general. Only that Noma is “purely” Scandinavian while Mugaritz is Iberian.

Very pleasing and refreshing tomatoes, “different” texture of bacalao, lobster with Iberian pork tails or locally made cheese. The intellectual side of the restaurant didn’t overshadow the fact that the food was actually very good.

envelopes

Of course I opened the second envelope first…

envelope

…while the first envelope contained this message…

envelope
The dining room
The dining room
Flowers soup
Flowers soup
Grilled cuttle fish
Grilled cuttle fish

“Roasted tomato salad and its own cool water” The flavours of this tomato reminded me gazpacho. An extraordinary dish.

Roasted tomato salad and it's own cool water
“Roasted tomato salad and its own cool water”

“Over a gelatinous pine nut cream, glutinous codfish and mastic resin” I don’t know how Aduriz transformed the codfish into chewing gum, but he definitely succeeded it. It tasted like Asian glutinous rice, but nothing like bacalao.

Over a gelatinous pine nut cream, glutinous codfish and mastic resin
Over a gelatinous pine nut cream, glutinous codfish and mastic resin

“Silky bread stew, infused with pink geranium leaves covered with crab meat”  Maybe it was not the most exciting mixture of flavours, but it was very good.

Silky bread stew, infused with pink geranium leaves covered with crab meat
Silky bread stew, infused with pink geranium leaves covered with crab meat

(There were two other dishes in between, one of which “roasted bonito”, but I failed to take their pictures.)

“Tradition, ocean and land: braised Iberian pork tails and pan-fried langoustines, reduced braising juices infused with Iberian jamon” The pork was “fat” and crunchy, perfect association with the lobster.

Tradition, ocean and land: braised Iberian pork tails and pan-fried langoustines, reduced braising juices infused with Iberian jamon
Tradition, ocean and land: braised Iberian pork tails and pan-fried langoustines, reduced braising juices infused with Iberian jamon

“Selection of Euskal Herria cheese. Artisanal ewe, cow and goats milk cheeses; abbey; monastery and farmhouse cheeses; mountain and meadow cheeses”  I loved how the apple looked “rotten” but in fact, it was baked. (I think).

Selection of Euskal Herria cheese
Selection of Euskal Herria cheese
Several spoonfuls of clashing contrasts: heavy cream, sweets and leaves
Several spoonfuls of clashing contrasts: heavy cream, sweets and leaves
Warm artisan tablet with whipped honey and oats
Warm artisan tablet with whipped honey and oats

The kitchen. It had a bad fire accident few months ago that destroyed everything. Now, as you can see, the kitchen is sleek and cutting edge.

The kitchen
The kitchen
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