Wednesday 19 December 2018

The Best of 2018.

We don't eat out as much as we used to. So when we do, it really needs to count. I am reluctant to take a gamble on an over hyped ultimately disappointing restaurant. For this reason there are quite a few old favourites this year with a handful of new gems, Xu in London and Tast in Manchester amongst others.
Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain.
This ultimate temple of the finest produce is always an absolute joy and even better, they let us sit on the terrace with views over to the mountains which we find to be even more special than sitting inside. The best thing I ate all year was their beef chop (pictured below).
Ynyshir, Machynlleth, Wales.
We celebrated Mrs Bacon's Birthday in style at what we consider one of the most impressive restaurants in the UK. A superb meat heavy taster menu from Gareth in an idyllic setting. (Not French Onion Soup, pictured below).

Zeruko, San Sebastian, Spain.
The new Zeruko a few doors down from the old branch (still there) in San Sebastian was a real surprise. It's more of a proper sit down restaurant than a pintxos bar. Presentation is often quirky as ever but everything still tastes good like this fabulous Pig's Snout & foie gras pictured below.
Mina, Bilbao, Spain.
Another return visit to one of our favourite restaurants is always such a pleasure.
XU Teahouse & Restaurant,  London. Such a fantastic lunch in a fine interior. I knew I'd like it but it was surprisingly our favourite on a recent London trip. Everything we ate was wonderful.
BRAT, London. Inspired by some of our favourite Spanish restaurants, it was inevitable that we had a good lunch here last weekend. Some highlights pictured below, the txuleta and the grilled wild mushrooms transported us back to the Basque country.
BAR FM, Granada. A second visit to this superb gastro bar with some of the highest quality seafood I've ever eaten.
Tast, Manchester. We enjoyed our first few trips to Tast and recently returned for more. We look forward to the high end dining room to open up in February.
El Campero. Zahara de los Atunes, Spain.
It was an unplanned trip to Zahara as we escaped the storms in Almeria, so we had to dine on tuna in a hundred ways at this old favourite modern gastro bar.
Deliciosa Marta, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
I never thought a restaurant in Gran Canaria would ever make the list but this place really impressed us. It's usually reserved for weeks in advance but we managed a last minute lunch booking. Deceptively simple and beautiful food reminded me of Sticky Walnut in Chester.
Special mention should also go to two excellent restaurants that opened in 2018 in Chorlton. Typical, you wait for years and two properly good local restaurants open at once. I hesitate to put on the list proper as they are clients of mine. (I shot for both of these restaurants this year). But we were seriously impressed by the food at both The Creameries and The Oystercatcher. (Both pictured below).

The Oystercatcher.
Lastly, a special mention to my favourite pizzas of the year (and another local client): Double Zero. I usually have a pizza of my making, four cheese and n'duja which I guess I've eaten more than anything else this year (often in my favourite bar, Strange Brew).
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