Michelin Stars and Akelarre

It seems appropriate that, on the week the Michelin ratings were published, I should write about my amazing experience in San Sebastian.

Incidentally, we now have a local pub which has just received its first and well deserved Michelin star, The Wild Rabbit at Kingham (part of Daylesford of course!)

Back to San Sebastian. It is recognised as one of the world’s great gastronomic cities and has more Michelin stars per square metre than any other city on the planet!

San Sebastian isn’t all about Michelin stars. There are wonderful and well priced restaurants and ‘Pintxos’ bars throughout the city. For a foodie, it’s a heavenly place to be. In a future post I will detail all about Pintxos, a style of tapas unique to the Basque region.

There are 3 x 3 Michelin star restaurants in San Sebastian, Arzak, Mugaritz and our choice, Akelarre. It’s some time since I ate at the same rated restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, which, this week, regained its 3rd Star.

The city is not renowned for a mediterranean climate, being on the Atlantic coast. On the day we had reserved Akalarre, it was particularly wet and misty. We headed out on the coast road and could barely see a step in front of us. Strangely, on arrival at the stunning restaurant it all added to the beauty of the place.

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It’s difficult to know how to start writing about Akalarre. I can only be a little clichéd and say from the moment we arrived service was unforgettable with beautifully uniformed and very friendly staff.

We had a table overlooking the sea, which we couldn’t see! Lunch started with a glass of Cava, of course.

Menus consist of 3 tasting menus, Aranori, Bekarki and Classics of Akallare or an a la carte menu. This was a once in a lifetime moment and Mrs H and I both chose Aranori.

Every dish was a true spectacle in itself. So here we go

To begin

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary
Stuffed Mussel, Potato and Prawn Amber, Anchovy Stuffed Black Olive
Stuffed Mussel, Potato and Prawn Amber, Anchovy Stuffed Black Olive

 

The leaves and the Foie under the Rain A variety of leaves, some made with cold foie-gras. The dressing, in a rain way, is made with an infusion of aromatics without olive oil or vinegar
The leaves and the Foie under the Rain
A variety of leaves, some made with cold foie-gras. The dressing, in a rain way, is made with an infusion of aromatics without olive oil or vinegar
Green Broth Infusion, Scampi and Smoked Monkfish. Raw and smoked monkfish, thinly sliced, barely cooked scampi, a little infusion packet containing monkfish crisp, aromatic herbs and prawn powder which melts with the addition of a natural broth
Green Broth Infusion, Scampi and Smoked Monkfish.
Raw and smoked monkfish, thinly sliced, barely cooked scampi, a little infusion packet containing monkfish crisp, aromatic herbs and prawn powder which melts with the addition of a natural broth
Very thin and light Beef Tartar, New Potato Souffle and Herb Bread
Very thin and light Beef Tartar, New Potato Soufflé and Herb Bread
Sea Bass "UMAMI" - translated as tastiness
Sea Bass “UMAMI” – translated as tastiness
Desalted Cod Box and Shavings Crystallized cod presented in a fish box, over edible shavings and cod tripe in tomato water
Desalted Cod Box and Shavings
Crystallized cod presented in a fish box, over edible shavings and cod tripe in tomato water
Roasted Suckling Pig, Bone, and Iberian Emulsion. Baby pig cooked with Iberian broth with an edible filled bone
Roasted Suckling Pig, Bone, and Iberian Emulsion.
Baby pig cooked with Iberian broth with an edible filled bone
"Xaxu and Coconut Iced Mousse. Egg and almond with a side of foaming coconut ice cream
Xaxu and Coconut Iced Mousse.
Egg and almond with a side of foaming coconut ice cream
Peach "Frozen Cake" and Tender Almond - made with grated peach
Peach “Frozen Cake” and Tender Almond – made with grated peach

I couldn’t begin to select a favourite dish because they were all so memorable.

In time, the sun came out and we had the most magnificent view over the Atlantic Ocean.

Because I’m not one to hold back, I asked for a tour of the kitchens and to meet with chef, Pedro Subijana. I was given a delightful tour by the Maitre d’. The kitchen is vast, well designed and sectioned. This was followed by the honour of meeting the great man himself.

This was a truly memorable experience but I will tell you an experience like this comes at a significant cost. We were especially privileged to be given the gift of lunch by a very special friend.

A visit to San Sebastian is a must do. I’ll be posting the best parts shortly.

Dates for your diary

The Parlour Series continues at The Lifford Hall

22nd November and 22nd December

Details to follow very soon. Please contact me to provisionally reserve a space.

 

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