After finishing up a nice lunch at Mugaritz, Rocky and I wandered back to the beach for another swim in the ocean, then got cleaned up again, and journeyed back to the restaurant to finish out our two-a-day(click here for part one). Once again we enjoyed the ideal Basque weather with a glass of Txakoli on the patio before moving into the dining room.
“Satiation eludes bread and olives…” An edible message, served with olive spread and apple juice to begin.
“Fishbones” with nuances of lemon, garlic and cayenne pepper. Just as crispy and dynamically flavored as at lunch.
Carrots and their smeared flowers. Perfect little carrots with cilantro flowers. Amazing.
Edible stones. Potatoes covered with clay served with garlic mayo. Amazing again. Rocky was instantly won over after the carrots and these potatoes.
Crispy bites of Shiso and Rau-Ram dyeing. A shiso leaf cooked tempura style with Rau-Ram ‘dye’. Delicious.
Grapes of melon and spiced seeds. Pieces of melon presented as peeled grapes, topped with dried tuna, wading in a fantastic consommé. Rocky nailed it right away that the ‘grapes’ were melon.
A sequence of wild and cultivated herbs with pickled vegetables, and creamy dressing. A good mix of herbs, leaves, flowers, and vegetables with a little oil, salt, and what I thought was described as ‘egg yolk vegetable milk’. Solid dish.
Scarlet prawns, fresh pasta and tomato. Simple and well-balanced. The prawn flavor a good match with the tomato. The rice pasta had a gummy density that was nice.
Green cheek peas(chickpeas) in a gelatinous stew with resinous perfume. Great stuff. The chickpeas, picked in summer, vacuum sealed and frozen, then cooked for a day were wonderful and had a good firmness. Served with cow tendon in a rich, strong, and sticky Iberian pork broth. The richness was almost too much for the vegetal legumes but the two tugged at each other just enough to stay in balance.
“Bonding… ” Toasted seeds and spices served in a Mortar and vegetable broth. The same setup as during the lunch service, but this time the dining room seemed to be more energized and having more fun. For this round, instead of cod, Rocky and I were given radishes. I thought this was much better because the fish at lunch was difficult to cut and eat out of the mortar, and also this prevents having three white fish in a row. For a drink pairing they subbed out a spiced beer from the same producer as the pairing from lunch(Bob’s Beer). The beer complemented the spice of the radishes superbly.
Daily catch with acidic sprouts of amaranth and vanilla. Daurade with subtle vanilla flavor that was really brought out by the Cava paired with the dish. The grains, buttery and tasty, were a good companion.
Coastal fish with crunchy trimmings of aged sourdough and sweet pickled onion. A decent piece of sea bass. The trimmings of aged sourdough were fried almost like tempura and with the pickled red onion were great fun and very addicting. I wanted a bowl of it. We were blind tasted for the drink pairing. Rocky nailed it before even tasting it as sake, because she’s awesome. It was a good match for the dish.
Roasted piece of milk and eggs fed veal. Nectar of flowers and vinegar with the reduction from the roast. I’m not really sure how the components here all tied together, especially with the addition from the honeycomb, but this dish was pretty bangin.
Garlic flowers in tempura. We got up to go chat with a few people in the kitchen. While we were there(and the Nikon was at the table) we had garlic flowers fried in tempura batter served with parsley puree. Amazing.
A crust from the grill. Loin of milk fed lamb in a ragout of its brains. A decent enough plate I guess. Probably my least favorite of the meal. The loin was nice, though the ragout didn’t highlight the brain flavor.
Mint. A brilliant, fresh, minty, chilled bite.
Chestnut honey meringue with elderberry and grapes. The meringue had the density of a softer, wetter marshmallow. The grape infusion with elderberry drops had me tilting the bowl trying to finish it.
Red fruits on crushed ice. “Moungo” pepper and eucalyptus pectin. Another amazing dish. A great pairing between fruit flavors. The lemon ice was light enough that it just accented the fresh berry flavor.
The warmth of nasturtium and peppercorns with fruit from the market. Gorgeous. Pink peppercorn ice cream with peaches and a little herb. Certainly the best iteration of peaches and cream that I’ve had, and in contention for my favorite dessert of the trip. Rocky says it is ‘hands down the best dessert of the trip, easily’.
Toasted milk and butter with cheese shavings and frozen pear cream. Nice pear ice cream. Great play of different textures, particularly the crunch of the crumbles.
Some chocolate hazelnuts to finish up. As with lunch, I finished the box.
Some wines(and more) we were served:
Overall, this meal was amazing. Without a doubt among my top meals of 2012. In the wake of this dinner Rocky and I had to fight the temptation to cancel our other reservations and spend the rest of our stay with the team at Mugaritz.
Date of visit: September 21st 2012
Mugaritz. Otzazulueta Baserria, Aldura Aldea 20. 20100, Errenteria. Gipuzkoa, Spain. +34 943 52 24 55 http://www.mugaritz.com/