Some years ago our friends were telling us they were visiting Bilbao, "oh you must go and eat at Mina" we told them. They wisely took our advice and naturally loved it as we had expected. The thing was, our friend Mark had never really experienced 'fine dining' before. He now completely understood why we travel and spend lots of money on just a lunch. He really 'got it'. Mina I suppose was his gateway drug. In hindsight, Mina was a perfect choice. Since then our friends have been with us to the wonderful Bar FM in Granada and now we returned to Mina together, somewhat appropriately.
If anything, it was actually better than last time. After some serious discussion, we all opt for the longer tasting menu. There was just too much good stuff to miss out on. The real draw here at Mina are the intense flavour bombs, this is what we come here for. The food is sensational with no apparent weaker dishes.
Oyster Gillardeau, gin and a citric touch.
Mussels in lemongrass, coconut soup and hot tomato.
Spider Crab topped with passion fruit emulsion.
Black Cheese, mushroom and crunchy chicken.
Smoked Txitxarro, cauliflower and cider.
Aubergine confit with red tea served with white prawn.
The purple onion from Zalla.
Roasted scallop served with vegetal broth.
Smoked Bluefin Tuna belly pastrami served with herbs curry.
Bone marrow cake served with spiced potato crunch.
Charcoal grilled Txipiron with roasted bird broth and mushroom stew.
Tamarind, Perrins and toffee.
Farmhouse milk, Ras al Hanout and persimmon.
The flavours are clear and intense, like electricity on your tongue.
As I was pontificating at the meal admittedly two bottles of wine down): in all honesty, it's a bit of a joke that Mina has just the one Michelin star. I've eaten in a couple of disappointing one stars this year that can't hold a candle to this restaurant. To my mind the food is on a par with anywhere in Spain and (along with Martín Berasategui) is my favorite meal of the year.
When I came up with the idea of Nacho & Friends at Ibérica. (where we invited the best Spanish chefs to cook for us here in Manchester), chef
Álvaro Garrido was the first person who I asked. He was keen to come but sadly
this is unlikely to happen due to a change in personnel at Ibérica. It
would have been amazing to have chef Álvaro cook for us here.
Previous review here.