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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Bar FM, Granada, Spain.

As you may have guessed, I don't get much chance to blog any more let alone eat out, due to work shooting food in restaurants for my clients. The last thing I want to do with my free time is go and photograph food for blogging after spending a long week shooting and processing thousands of images. It's quite a lot of hard work. However I just have to write about Bar FM in Granada as it was so good.
Maybe I was also influenced by the moment, it was the first night of our Spanish trip and we met up with our good friends Debbie and Mark who have only gone off to live our dream to exit awful post Brexit Britain and settle in an Andalucian village nearby. So we were already in very good spirits after meeting up but it seemed to me like the food here is absolutely sensational. I'll explain why.
But first we begin with some prawns both 'red' (Roja, €31.50) and 'white' (quisquillas, smaller, €30).
Pulpo Seco. (€22).Dried octopus, a speciality of the house.
Puntillitias & Chopitos. (Baby squid, €14). The very best examples we've ever eaten and we order these a lot. Sampled closely together, you could tell the differences between them both. The olive oil they are using is also beautiful.
Anchoas (€2 each).
Cocochas (€18). Different from the hake throat we've eaten before, especially in Basque country. These are less gelatinous and more fish like with a delicate texture. Again the best version of the dish we've had.
Tuna Tataki (€24) and Sashimi de Ventesca. Tuna Belly (€25). Eaten closely together again, these were superb, actually better than we've had at some favourite places (El Campero for example). The tuna belly was unbelievable. 
Our friends had not tried either dish before and were suitably impressed.....Pulpo Gallega (€20).
A fresh tomato salad (€7.50) and Oysters (€4 each).
To finish..
A note on the prices, (much criticised on TA). It's not cheap but the very best rarely is, and if you think more of this as a taster menu for four over typical standard tapas prices, it's reasonable. For the main part we order half portion raciones so we could eat more.
As times have gone on, our tastes have changed. We seem to much prefer restaurants like this, serving simple but such high quality product over the overly fussy Michelin star style (with a few notable exceptions). The seafood is sourced from the best suppliers in Catalonia, Galicia and nearby Motril. The service was excellent and friendly too.
Bar FM is an exquisite restaurant serving the best product available. (It's been recently smartly refurbished). On first look it appears to be another one of these gastro bars that have become popular in Spain. But it is so much better than that. Rarely have I eaten seafood this fresh. The quality of the product is so high and so simply, sensitively and accurately treated.
You can imagine similar quality at the likes of Etxebarri, Ibai or Sacha. Yes, Bar FM is as good as those places in my humble opinion. You must eat here.


I booked via twitter but if you turn up as they open at 8pm (or 1 for lunch) you'll most likely get a table as Spanish people never turn up early.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Martín Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain

A short time into the meal we had at Martín Berasategui, the maître d' asked me if I was left handed. (I am. They then amend the placement of the cutlery to take this into account). This attention to detail for me encapsulates the highest level of service here, one of the best restaurant experiences we've ever had. The food too is beautiful, there is nothing here we don't absolutely love from start to finish. Make no mistake, €225+ drinks and service is a lot of money (for us) so it is absolutely vital that we go somewhere that is perfect. In our experience not all Michelin star restaurants are worth the money. Some seem to survive on hype and a high number on the World's 50 Best. Martín Berasategui however is well worth the price. Both the food and service were up there with the best we've ever experienced, anywhere.
We opt for The Great Tasting Menu.  (The dates in brackets are the year of origin of the dish).
A selection of bread and butters: boletus, spinach, beetroot and salted.
Rhubarb crunch with “Balfegó” tuna tartar and yuzu gel. (2017).
Mille-feuille of smoked eel, foie gras, spring onions and green apple. (1995).
Ham and truffle 'tortilla'. (2017).
Red Shrimp Royale and dill with Venta del Barón oil. (2014). This was probably my favourite.
Caviar gel with pickles of asparagus and its cream, salted with Añana’s salt. (2017).
Lightly marinated oyster with iced cucumber slush and K5, and spicy apple. (2015).
Tarama with beetroot and sour horseradish. (2017).
Vegetable hearts salad with seafood, cream of lettuce and iodized juice. (2001).
This was quite a few of our party's favourite dish.
Crayfish over an aniseed sea bed and coral mayonnaise. (2017).
'The Truffle' with fermented wild mushrooms and collard greens with 'Alma de Jerez' oil. (2015).
Gallo Celta Galician egg and citrus chicken stock with corn. (2017).

Grilled hake loin, coconut, red curry and liquid and crunchy razor shells. (2017). We recognise the 'Tortillitas de Camarones' element straight away, a variation of the bar snack from Andalucia.

Grilled Sirloin 'luisimi' over a bed of Swiss Chard chlorophyll and cheese bonbon. (2011). This was our requested replacement for the usual pigeon dish.
Desserts. Lemon with basil juice, green bean and almond. (2016).
Almond honeycomb with brittle bits and iced cinnamon. (2016).
Two of our friends had the wine flight to accompany the food whilst we shared a clean and fresh bottle of Mauro Godello (2014). Another lovely touch was when they poured out two glasses of dessert wine " a present from your friend Fernando." A pal from twitter and a friend of the restaurant had messaged them to tell them we were dining with them that day. This was the icing on the cake of a perfect meal for us.
Sometimes I question why we do this, flying abroad a great expense just to eat a meal. Restaurants as good as this one provide the answer to that. If I am paying the price I realised lately that I don't really want to be 'challenged' as a diner. I just want to eat the most beautiful food imaginable and this is what we got at Martín Berasategui.
10/10.