[Spain: San Sebastian] 1* Amelia Restaurant
Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (4/5)
Our culinary journey in Spain ended this time at Amelia Restaurant in San Sebastián. Opened last year, the restaurant managed to get 1 Michelin Star in just 7 months. The chef is Paulo Airaudo who was born in Argentina and has worked around the world including 3* restaurants such as Arzak and Fat Duck. It must be tough to open a new restaurant in San Sebastián with so many other fierce competition from fine dining to pintxos restaurants, but I think Amelia is offering something different here - something more modern, playful and creative. Our first clue? The Darth Vader and Astro Boy decorations scattered around the dining room.
Our meal started with a tour of the kitchen downstairs along with a welcome bite. The snack failed to make an impression but luckily the rest of the meal turned out to be much better.
Two menus were offered at lunch time - a Seasonal Short Menu for €100 and Seasonal Menu for €130. We opted for the shorter menu which was more than enough food at around 10 courses. The food was creative, thoughtful and balanced in every way - we felt that the Michelin Star was very well-deserved.
White asparagus and mussels, deer ham
Mackerel, beetroot and creme fraiche
I didn't expect to see Chicken wings, onion and egg on the menu at a fine dining restaurant but this playful dish was well-executed and actually one of the highlights of the meal.
Homemade bread with butter, olive oil and chicken liver pate
Parsley risotto and sea snail
Pancetta and mash potato
Red mullet and late artichoke
I'm usually not a fan of Sweetbreads but these prepared with black garlic and carrots were outstanding.
The only dish we didn't like at Amelia was this Goat cheesecake. So at the beginning of the meal when they asked us if there was anything we don't eat, we told them goat cheese. The staff informed us that there was a dish made with goat cheese but assured that that it's not that strong and that it's only a small bite. So we said okay then. But when the cheesecake came, it was definitely bigger than expected; we took a bite and couldn't finish it because the goat cheese flavor was pretty strong. We felt misled and the fact that they didn't even ask us why we didn't finish the dish or offer to replace it with something else was troublesome. It's never a good a idea to gamble on your customers' tolerance because everyone is different. I'd expect more from the service and it also baffles me why they bothered to ask if they didn't want to do anything about diners' preferences.
Apple, fennel and dill
The Petit fours included a marshmallows with honey and cardamom and strawberry jelly in the shape of Darth Vader (much like the ones served at Geranium).
Prim Kalea, 34, 20006 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Tel: +34 943 84 56 47