Eneko at One Aldwych, London February 2017

by Emma Bumpus on February 20, 2017

Traditional food and flavours at Eneko at One Aldwych take careertraveller on a gastronomic journey to Northeastern Spain’s ‘Basque country’, where full-bodied colour, culture and gastronomy position adventurous ingredients at the centre of the table.

Located in the heart of London, Covent Garden awaits a culinary experience that smacks of style, imagination and tradition inside the fashionably renowned boutique One Aldwych Hotel.

Inside this glamorous former ‘Morning Post’ newspaper HQ, first impressions come in the form of a stunning copper-plated staircase that descends to a stylish ‘theatre-like’ basement of sizzling colour. Piquant red booths and white leather armchairs stylishly offset a plethora of beautifully hand-sculpted tables made in solid wood of Basque Chestnut trees.

Smooth, curvaceous and textured haute couture wood provides a stimulating backdrop for some serious Mediterranean brunch with Spanish roots steeped in green fertile Navarra Pyrenees Mountains and coastal Bay of Biscay Atlantic beaches.

Impressed by the subtle butterfly joint inlay that radiates bespoke craftsmanship fit for an artisanal feast of playful sensations, the show commences with a clever Bloody Mary twist of spice-infused vodka, golden tomato juice and celery foam in the name of aperitif ‘Golden Mary’. Opulently presented in a bountiful cocktail glass brimming with lively seasoning and bursts of Vitamins A and C sets the scene for a show of lively ingredients and fun dynamic of sharing food.

From the depths of his hometown Bilboa, we discover Three Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa whose Basque inspired menu brings a party to the table with regional Euskal Azoka ‘Street Food’ and a carnival cocina to the palate. Vibrantly eye catching and engaging we brunch through Traditional Talo whose fresh corn tortilla base showcases a spectacular spring bouquet of fresh herbs and edible flowers positioned beautifully upon layers of meaty and sunny coloured heritage tomatoes.

Elegantly fruity and bursting with heirloom superior juice we taste summer on a plate and progress to the Basque pizza-style Talo, whose contrasting dash of anchovies and farmhouse Idiazabal cheese brings a mildly salty and smokey influence from the Atlantic coast and mountainous highlands!

Taste buds climax with the arrival of Gallinero ‘Eggs’ and Arraultzak, whose salivating golden fried eggs served on a succulent piquillo pepper and onion coated Flour Crisp define brunch in one morsel. Accompanied by a rustic earthenware pan of creamy mash and chives we traverse deep into Navarre country and delight in the truly seasonal spindly wild asparagus and sweet and spicy “little beak’ chilli peppers.

Next we enter the verdant vineyards of Eneko’s own family winery Gorka Izagirre where we sample a glass of the flagship wine Txakoli, whose youthful sharp fresh tones take us to the hills of the Txorierri Valley. In a land of green hilly regions and oceanic climate we step into charming rural countryside and discover Eneko’s neighbouring Michelin-starred Azurmendi restaurant, which just 20 kilometres from Bilboa is surrounded by vineyards and built into a Biscay hillside!

Full of surprise and imagination we brunch further into wizardry with a taste of the Asador – ‘Grill’ menu and dip into the provincial town of Guernica or Basque name ‘Guernika’. A drooling platter of sliced golden seared Duck breast and Gernika peppers, named after the town bombed during the Spanish Civil War, rests tenderly against a formation of green and mild officially protected Basque pepper. Fried in olive oil and lightly seasoned with sea salt ticks the careertraveller favourite dish of the day for pure melt in the mouth culinary flair and rustic simplicity that stems from a rich culinary heritage.

Last but not least arrives dessert and spoilt for choice we opt for a dolce combination of Basque country elements and gastronomic expertise that inspires, educates and lifts the soul.

Taste and texture take us from the traditional Torrija, an authentic vanilla sponge with light caramel crumble ice cream to zesty Strawberry sorbet, whose flawlessly dainty rose marshmallow is weightlessly delectable. However, it is the Salted Caramel Mousse that rests politely on a bed of homemade cookie crumble with complementary genuine sheep’s milk ice cream that takes centre stage, placing Basque country travel firmly on the careertraveller radar.

Further information:

Eneko at One Aldwych
Brunch can be booked online eneko@onealdwych.com or by calling
020 7300 0300. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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