Tag Archives: Arzak

Arzak, Spain (***)

3 Michelin Stars

8th in the World

Enter Arzak, and meet Elena Arzak, who was very friendly and had a fairly good command of English.

Rice Vinegar with mussel

Our first amuse bouche. Mussel was very meaty and fresh, nicely cooked as well. Rice vinegar on the other hand, threw the whole thing off. Very very acidic and it had an unpleasant aftertaste. Bad

Crispy Fish Paste

This was surprisingly good. Consistency was much more delicate than Chinese fish cake, and flavours were more intense as well. Very crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Good

Lotus root with fish mousse.
Choritzo in tempura with tamarind.
Ball of mushroom with dust of corn.

Amuse bouche platter from outer space. A re-occuring play on textures. Soft interior and crisp exterior. The Lotus root was good, the rest were okay.

Figs with Foie.

Foie gras stuffed into a fig, sprinkled with sugar and then caramelized. The best dish of the night, by far. Flavours worked to well together. The sweetness of a fig and sugar complimented the creamy, unctuous foie gras that melted on your tongue, while the fig provided a little more bite. Delicious, and the server mentioned that the individual pulp sacs or orange and pomelo on the plate were obtained by freezing the fruit in liquid nitrogen and smashing it. Plucking each sac manually would require too much effort and time. Superb

Potatos, Lobster, and copaiba.

Potato was in the form of a crisp, lobster was nicely cooked but fairly underseasoned. Overall the dish didnt work, it was really a goopy mess of a dish. Very Bad

Egg with earthquake of soil

Poached egg with fried breadcrumbs and truffle shavings. This sounds like something I should like, it really does. But the fried breadcrumbs has soaked up so much oil, the dish became incredibly heavy to eat. The truffle, however, was very aromatic(Yes I do think truffle is aromatic and I would wear truffle cologne if they made it, and on that note, I would also like to smell like ham), and the egg was perfectly cooked. Okay

Monkfish with dehydrated bronzed onion.

Monkfish was nicely cooked and well seasoned. But the goopy sauces strewn all over the plate killed the fish completely. They were completely tasteless and didn’t seem to serve any purpose to the dish apart from aesthetic reasons. And Bronzed onion? Okay, I admit this caused quite a buzz at the table and some of us were actually wondering if this was edible, with the amount of bronze coloring applied on it. But all it tasted like, was an onion, thrown into an oven and roasted till dry. It tasted good, but was it necessary? Bad

Bonito in bonfire of scales and chives.

This was actually seared tuna, I can’t remember what the sauces were. But the sauce on the plate had good flavour and seasoning. Okay

Pigeon with Potatos, spherified potatoes, and spherified Balsamic vinegar.

So much of this meal was spent trying to figure out wtf we were eating. And this was a dish that exemplified that sentiment. Lets start with the tangible food. The pigeon was nicely seasoned and had a nice char on its exterior, it wasnt the most tender of meats, but pigeon is a game-y meat and expectations have to be realistic. Potato(The real potato) was actually very good. Very well seasoned, and had some nice heat to it. ¬†Spherified potato was straight out weird. It tasted like the equivalent of cooking potatoes in a pot of water to obtain potato soup, then throwing in salt, sodium alginate, then spherifying, which is actually probably how they did it; it doesn’t sound that appetizing, because it wasnt. And finally, the spherified balsamic vinegar. Which actually makes sense, and has been done before in “molecular gastro” salads. But was the metallic colouring really necessary? It seemed to take away from the quality of the balsamic used, and they did use a good quality aged balsamic. Okay

Lamb with seaweed cake

Lamb was once again nicely cooked. There was a slab of butter on the lamb that already melted by the time the photo was taken, that added a richness to the already unctuous lamb. The seaweed cake was very good, slightly chewy but it had such a strong seaweed flavour without overpowering the tate of the lamb. Good

Cant Remember anything about this

Soup and chocolate between vineyards
Basil ice cream, watermelon soup, and pure liquid “goopy chocolate”. I was struggling quite badly through this dish. I love the individual flavour components. Watermelon is my favourite fruit, I love fresh basil in sauces and pastas, and chocolate, well, who doesn’t love chocolate. But this dish didn’t work when all these were combined together. The watermelon was probably the best part of the dish, the basil did not work with the chocolate, and the chocolate had the consistency of spherified melted chocolate, but they were way too big and it was a struggle when thick, heavy chocolate exploded with a single bite. Very bad

“roasted peach with sugar flowers”

The peach was very fresh, succulent, and had a nice bite to it. The rest of the dish tasted like simple syrup. Okay

Yogurt sponge cake

Even the desserts look like they come from space. The yoghurt sponge cake had good flavour but was completely undone by its consistency. Very starchy and dense, it was closer to bread than it was to a sponge cake. Bad

Moon Rocks

The dubious sounding dish was actually Orange flavoured creme, frozen on the outside(liquid nitro?), while still having a liquid center. The change in textures was very interesting, and it had a pleasant orange aftertaste. Good

Leave and meet Juan Marie Arzak, who is as eccentric as the meal we just had.

This was for me, a confusing and frustrating meal. Not at all what I would expect from a three Michelin starred restaurant, and one of the best restaurants in Spain. The food was at times so experimental and pre-mature, that we felt that we were guinea pigs for the restaurant. Much of the meat was well cooked, but it was often taken a step back by a component of a flavour profile that didnt need to be on the plate. It was the most disappointing meal of our Spain trip.

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