Food: innovative Basque cuisine
Address: Corredor del Txorierri, Salida 25, Barrio Legina, s/n Larrabetzu,
Larrabetzu, 48195, Spain
Phone Number: +34 944 558 866
Guide Michelin: 3 stars
What I paid: 500 € (tasting menu for two persons including water and wine)
Visited: June 1, 2014
Azurmendi is located on the outskirt of the Bilbao Airport on a hilltop surrounded
by vineyards. Several buildings are associated with Azurmendi including a banquet
that could house a capacity of up to 800 people. Two gardens are also accompanying
the restaurant. The gastronomic restaurant itself (were we ate) is situated in a glass
and steel building.
Azurmendi has a strong local anchoring and sources most of its goods from its own gardens and local suppliers and producers. The restaurant is also very eco friendly and recycles to a high degree and also uses renewable energy to carry out most of its tasks.
Chef Eneko Atxa has his roots in the Basque region and has also worked at, for
instance, the famous restaurants Mugaritz, Asador Etxebarri and Martín Berasategui but also at bistros and pintxos bars. Eneko therefore has good understanding and training from a wide diversity of good quality Basque food.
The restaurant opened in 2005 and gained its first star in 2008, its second in 2011
and finally its third one in 2013.
We were not able to schedule a dinner (i.e. evening time) that suited our plans so we
did instead opt for a Sunday lunch. That said: Azurmendi serves the same menus for
both lunch and dinner so from that perspective it did not matter. On the topic of
menus: there are (as writing…) two to choose from, named the ADARRAK- and ERROAK
restaurant menus and the main difference is that Adarrak has four starters
(instead of three) and two desserts (instead of one).
We decided to go with the bigger (and supposedly more creative) alternative (i.e. the ADARRAK restaurant menu).
The Azurmendi meal started in the main entrance of the restaurant where a picnic basket was served.
The picnic basket contained homemade seasoned anchovy, bread and ham and CaipiriTxa.
Next up is a visit to the kitchen and its staff. Here, two more snacks are served.
Finally, the guests are brought to their table to continue the lunch/dinner.
Seated at the table some amusements of hazelnut, peanut, almond and a mushroom “leave” was served.
Next, one of the Azurmendi signature dishes were served, namely the “Egg from our hens, cooked inside out and truffled”.
Next up was a very tasty variant of Bloody Mary:
Next, an oyster with vegetable and sea pil-pil accompanied by sea urchin and seaweed was served. This was a really good dish:
Then one of the high-lights of this meal was served, which was “roasted lobster out of the shell on oil herbs and sweet chives”:
An equally astonishing plate followed: a charcoal-grilled Foie Gras dish:
Yet another full point dish followed; roasted squid on its juice and its ink sponge:
Then a very intensely flavored dish was served consisting of salted stew of vegetables, anchovies and Iberics.
We were then served a fish dish of red mullet, spider crab and cauliflower:
The first dish accomplished by red wine was next up, which was one of my absolute favorites: pigeon, deuxelle and truffle.
We were now finished with the main courses and started the dessert section of the menu. First up of the sweets was really creative and interesting. Very special but also really good!
Next dessert was all about apples and did also have some txakoli included. Again; good!
The last dessert (which I forgot to take a picture of) consisted of red fruits, almonds and a lovely cherry ice cream.
Finally, Petit Fours and some coffee:
I have previously read that the lunch/dinner usually starts in the greenhouse and edible garden, with the first appetizers hidden between the fruits and vegetables in the garden. However, this was not the case when we attended this lunch. That said, we were still able to pass by this garden and sample some fresh tomatoes before heading to our hotel…
In summary: In all a very pleasant and creative meal. Even though I did not fully adore all starters, most dishes were really good and I could also say that many of them were in the absolute top league in regards to my taste buds. I can highly recommend a visit to Azurmendi, which I think is one, if not the best restaurant, in the Basque region of Spain.