Word of mouth led me to a conclusion that Mugaritz is one of the place food lovers can’t miss in San Sebastian. Mugartiz is on the A2 headlines in the foodies’ world. However, there are contrasty reviews about this place. A year or so earlier, there were comments saying that Mugartiz has lost its grip in its creation. But it has made its way back in the game recently.
Located on the gentle hill, the restaurant is situated in a tranquil area where you could refuel yourself from the half an hour journey from San Sebastian.
The 4-hour meal has 23 courses, mostly served in small bites, keeping you hungry throughout the meal. Some dishes at Mugaritz stood out in its presentation while a few astonished me with exotic combination of flavors and textures. However, I believe, there could be better execution on their some of their food and concepts. For example, the tendon, one of the appetizers, could be braised with more flavors, the shisho leaf could be deep fried with sesame oil instead of sunflower oil to make it less greasy, the sugar rock (it was grinded and sprinkled on top of the sugary porra) could have a stronger flavor….
Nevertheless, I did had quite a few memorable dishes during the meal. The teff, an Ethiopian grass, grown locally in the backyard of Mugaritz, was served with chocolate and chestnut paste with toasted malt. And yes, I understand that it sound absolutely absurd to say that eating raw grass from Ethiopia is one of the highlight in a Michelin restaurant. But it was a simple yet interesting appetizer.
Next: the Steak tartar with sea bream roe and caviar. Caviar is often overused in fine dining restaurants. Sometimes caviar became a luxurious decorative component more than an ingredient that actually enhances the flavor of the dish. But the caviar in this steak tartar gave an umami, slightly “salty” kick to the tartar and it brought out the flavors of the raw Galician beef. Absolutely yummy.
Another interesting observation of the meal is the influence of Chinese/Asian cooking techniques and flavors. From time to time, some dishes ring a bell on certain Chinese dishes. For example, the sugary porra, which is almost identical to a traditional chinese banquet dish – deep fried milk (脆皮炸鮮奶). The glace on the hake is like the slightly sticky thickened sauce (芡) in some Chinese vegetable dishes.
Overall, it’s a great restaurant, with a great working environment for creative chefs.
Address: Aldura Aldea, 20, 20100 Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Tel: +34 943 52 24 55
Visited on: 21 Sept 2014
Hours: 12:30p to 6pm; 8:00pm to 1:30am, Closed weekly on: Sunday evenings, all Mondays, and lunch on Tuesdays.
Owner: Andoni Luis Aduriz