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.
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.
Of course I opened the second envelope first…
…while the first envelope contained this message…
“Roasted tomato salad and its own cool water” The flavours of this tomato reminded me gazpacho. An extraordinary dish.
“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.
“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.
(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.
“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).
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.