[Spain: Larrabetzu] Azurmendi - 3 Michelin Star Gastronomy by Eneko Atxa
Saving the best for last, our last meal in the Basque Country was at Eneko Atxa's Azurmendi with 3 Michelin stars and #16 on World's 50 Best Restaurant list! The gorgeous glass-house restaurant is perched on a hill with beautiful views of the valley and not only is the architecture stunning, it is also very environmentally friendly and has won The Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2014. Since the location of the restaurant was closer to Bilbao than San Sebastian, we took the bus to go sightseeing first at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in the morning before taking a taxi to Azurmendi for our lunch reservation.
I had the fortunate opportunity of trying Eneko's food in Copenhagen earlier in May at the OAD's Masters Dinner event, and I came away very impressed with his dishes so I was keen on trying his restaurant when I was planning my visit to the Basque Country. The restaurant is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday and dinner from Friday to Saturday with two menus to choose from - a shorter 11-course classic Erroak Menu for 145€ and a 14-course seasonal Adarrak Menu for 175€. We both ended up getting the longer tasting menu with wine pairing to match which turned out to be a lot of food and the definite highlight of our Spain trip!
The top floor of the restaurant is actually a greenhouse with unobstructed views of the countryside from the patio.
Before we entered the dining room, we had several experiences around the restaurant first starting with a lovely picnic in the atrium which seemingly emulated a rain forest with a giant tree stump, lush greenery and serene music with waterfall sounds.
Our picnic basket contained 3 snacks each including a smoked eel brioche with anchovy emulsion, vegetables toast and a chocolate sphere with Txakoli (a fizzy white wine from the region). Each bite-sized snack had been decorated with immaculate detail and packed with explosive flavors!
We then moved to the kitchen to enjoy our second snack and got to see how big and massive the kitchen was!
After our interesting experiences, we were then led to our table in the main dining room to begin our meal.
We started our meal with a refreshing aperitif of Frozen olive and vermouth.
Up next was the chef's signature of Egg from our hens which had been 'cooked inside out' and injected with truffle.
The bread course were soft steamed buns which reminded me of Chinese steamed buns (mantou).
Oysters on its tartar and seaweed traces
The Tomatoes with local varieties and anchovies was served with a tomato sorbet and tomato water so we can try the tomatoes in different textures.
At first glance, I thought I was being served noodles but it was actually Garlic mushrooms with two fried eggs. I loved the creative presentation while the flavors were delightfully rich.
The Roasted lobster out of the shell with its crunch and mayonnaise absolutely blew us away! I've never had lobster this flavorful before and every single texture had its own delicate taste which came together to give this dish layers of exquisite flavors.
The next dish of Fried Suckling Pig with basil emulsion continued to impress as the texture of the suckling pig was so soft and tender - it simply melted in our mouths!
"Castanetas" pork glazed in its juice with "Etxano" cheese
Cod trip to the fine herbs
We had tried the Fried Hake with roasted red pepper infusion and parsley last time at the OAD event and somehow this was even better than before!
Another one of our favorites is the Pigeon with green beans and duxelle, pigeon foie gras and pigeon consomme.
Our palate cleanser was a super refreshing Watermelon with coriander and lime.
Peach and lavender
Chocolate, peanut and liquorice
Our Petit fours were an impressive collection of apple and rosemary infusion, macarons, cacao marshmallow, white chocolate lollipop, lime and red wine chocolate bonbons, matcha cake and mango jelly.
We continued our celebration of our anniversary here at Azurmendi and got surprised with some beautiful sparklers along with a chocolate cake!
There are meals that are impressive but then there are those that are so spectacular and magical that the experience stays with you for a long long time and Azurmendi is definitely one of those special places. Thank you Eneko for the wonderful meal and I look forward to visiting the restaurant again (hopefully soon)!
Corredor del Txorierri Salida 25, Larrabetzu, Bizkaia, Spain
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