Wednesday 18 July 2018

The New Zeruko, San Sebastian.

I love the buzz of a busy pintxos bar in San Sebastian but Saturday night can be a bit too manic especially the likes of La Cuchara de San Telmo. We leave Borda Berri at 8.30pm and people were already spilling out onto the street. Luckily we'd booked a table at the brand new Zeruko which is a just few doors down from the old branch, still open on Calle Pescaderia in the old town. 
 I've always been a fan of the old Zeruko which is a bit more modern in it's approach but the food to my mind is more often than not successful. 'La Hoguera' is a must, smoked cod, brought to you on its own little grill. We sampled that again the previous evening.
The new Zeruko (just open this July) has a brand new, totally different menu and it's all sit down tables and waiter service. It has a more relaxed, modern vibe. The prices remain very keen. Pintxos are around the €5 mark and friends were drinking bottles of red for €10, a very drinkable rioja I think. We were enjoying delicious cold Keller beer.
We knew nothing about the food before we came here but it was fun, and inexpensive so I keep ordering, I'm on a roll. 
We all enjoy the Stone Cooked Tuna. (€7.50) You get it raw and lightly season and cook it on hot stones. A bit of a gimmick true but the tuna is good quality and it's all good fun, especially in a group of people. 
Also the fish and chips (€5) in a little basket. Better than any fish and chips I've had in the UK, beautiful fish (a different one each day I can't remember what it was, possible seabass?) and light batter with perfect chips. I also enjoy the kokotxa surf and turf cheeks (€4.50) and the razor clam in it's own citrus and chicken broth (€5.90). You have to fish the razor clams from a jar. There's also a Lamb & Potato and Tabbouleh (€6) and our favourite, Pig's Snout and Foie Gras (€5 see pic below). This is full of jellied fat and flavour almost too rich but so good.
The new Zeruko is a great success. Service was actually very good, the food is a little gimmicky but underneath all that it's actually very good especially for the price. Besides, I enjoy the kooky presentation, it's like being at a Michelin star restaurant for a fraction of the price. We all really enjoyed it and will definitely return on our next trip to Donostia.

Friday 13 July 2018

Etxebarri, Axpe Valley, Spain.

We make the return journey to Etxebarri on our recent trip to The Basque Country. All the food is simple and unadorned here, it's all about simplicity and quality of the finest product cooked on the famous charcoal grill. Highlights were the sensational beef chop (photo below), the Prawns from Palamós (head sucking is an absolute must, more squeamish friends let me such their heads, that's what friends are for right?). The tomato and tuna dish was also memorable. The tomatoes were like the memory of tomatoes from childhood, they were magical.
We had the taster menu (€176) as follows* on the terrace.
Anchovy, salted.
Chorizo. This is home made of course.
Butter goats milk.
Buffalo fresh cheese.
Tomato spring onion, watercress & belly white tuna.
Pod razor & green pepper emulsion.
Prawns of Palamós.
 Sea cucumber & green beans.
Baby squid & its Ink and caramelized onion.
Cod kokotxa.
King bolete & aubergine.
Red mullet & peas and carrots.
Beef chop.
Milk Ice Cream, beetroot juice. Probably my favourite dessert ever. Perfect.
Pumpkin & Cherry.
There's a reason serious food lovers continue to make the pilgrimage here. Of this type of product restaurant, Etxebarri is unsurpassed.
See my earlier review here.
* We also ordered the oysters as an extra course. highly recommended.