Friday 9 October 2015

Baratxuri, Ramsbottom.

I've always wondered why nobody has opened a proper Basque Pintxos Bar in the North. With the popularity of tapas you'd have thought that this was the next obvious step. Pintxos are essentially small snacks, often (but not always) literally 'spiked' onto a piece of bread. It's also not a million miles away from the YO! Sushi concept. You pay at the end with your little pile of sticks rather than your plates. So it's a bit like a buffet too and we all love a buffet.
Now Levanter have done just that and it's just round the corner from their original bar. Joe and Fiona asked us up yesterday to take some photos pre-opening. The only problem was that it wasn't ready. Of course these things always over run. When we arrived it looked like a manic building site with tilers still finishing the job. We were amazed to see it take shape within the hour ready for friends and family arriving that evening. My carefully organised shoot didn't quite work out as planned but I managed to get a few photos documenting the night. It gives us the excuse to go back to take some more.
We loved the tiles and the long bar with the Illuminated Alhambra beer pumps. It really does feel authentically Spanish without being clichéd.
They've done a great job of balancing the type of food you actually get in the Basque country and what people eat in the north. As much as I'd like to see them, realistically few in Ramsbottom will order the likes of Kokotxas (hake throats). The Jamon & Txistorra sausage rolls (£2) are a touch of genius. Some of the quality products they're using (such as the Spider Crab I'd imagine) are from Grey's Fine Foods who also supply chef Michael O'Hare.
The staff did a sterling job of remembering everybody's order last night, it's clear that this place will run on the strength of the people working there remembering everything. It may take a week or two to get it running as slickly as they'd like. Some dishes are on display but have to be grilled as is usual in San Sebastián.
Favourites last night included Morcilla (Spanish Black Pudding) Piquillo & Quails Egg (£3), Kroketa (£2) and Wild Mushroom with Idiazabal (£1.50). It's very keenly priced too, I expect it'll be just as popular as Levanter.
Sat in the window seat with the buzz of a bar in full flow with folk of all ages, I realised that they've actually done it, they've really created a proper pintxos bar in a Northern Town.

Baratxuri. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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