I haven’t posted about our meal at Mugaritz which according to San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna is #3 best restaurant in the world! We were fortunate enough to score reservations, given that we booked our flights a month before our trip. We also tried to make reservations at El Celler de Can Roca and Asador Etxebarri. We didn’t luck out on the former but was able to go to the latter which I hopefully will post soon. Anyway, the reason we were lucky to book Mugaritz is because they were on their winter break. The restaurant closes down for the winter and re-opens in the spring…we got the third service for 2012, which means they were open for two days! During the break the entire team goes off in R&D mode, discovering and experimenting with new flavors. So the staff was very excited to serve us this very new menu. We even got to try items that did not appear on the menu. Mugaritz’ food should evoke different senses. Even the way they word the dishes sounds fancy!
Mugaritz is located outside of San Sebastian, we had a rental car and GPS, thank goodness because no one tells you about the numerous roundabouts in Spain!
So let’s get started!
“Satiation eludes bread and olives…” Is it sad that the Robuchon bread cart is still the most epic bread cart I’ve ever had? Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of their bread tray 😦 Anyway, get it? Instead of bread you got paper, instead of olives you got butter that tasted like olives! Yes it looks like paper and even has the texture of kraft paper. There is this one snack that is sold at the Vietnamese supermarkets…it looks like white crackers that have roasted peanuts held together by a hardened sugar. I don’t know the name of this snack but the white cracker part tastes just like this paper! It was served with olive oil tasting butter.
“Grilled toast of bone marrow with herbs and horseradish ash” That’s a whole piece of bone marrow, it was like meaty butter on toast!
“Flax and wheat “Kraft” paper with roe and Arrow-grass buttons” Underneath this “paper” there was roe!
“crunchy sauce with citron and peppers” this reminds me of shrimp crackers, the same concept but much thinner. However when you bite into it, it immediately melts in your mouth like a creamy sauce! the black dots represent the peppers…it definitely balanced out the creaminess of the sauce.
“Lukewarm cannelloni of sea urchin and milk” Looks like cheong fun from dim sum, doesn’t it? Except the texture/flavor of the “cannelloni” piece does not taste like rice noodles, it tastes like non fat milk in…noodle form and when you bite into it you have HUGE pieces of sea urchin.
“Strings of skate and chard with Molli made with sunflower and pumpkin seeds” The strings of skate…also reminded me of another Asian dish, have you had dried cuttle fish? It’s like that but as if it’s been moistened in water, except in this case it was moistened by a sunflower/pumpkin seed sauce. Very interesting take on a childhood snack!
Here’s the bonus dish! Looks like de-skinned grapes right? When we bit into it it tasted like winter melon soup! The staff eagerly watched us eat this one to see how we reacted. When we finished they asked us what we thought it was, husband said winter melon soup and they said yes!
“cured cheese, in its own rind, mushrooms and coastal herbs” This one tasted as described, like a very creamy cheese, even creamier/softer than brie.
“Vegetable noodles in a meat and toasted onions consomme” It was like french onion soup, without the gruyere cheese. Without the cheese it tastes a lot lighter!
This next dish was fun:
“Bonding…” Toasted seeds and spices served in a Mortar with a paste of chopped shrimp
Yeah that’s exactly what we got, except the “bonding” part is where we did some work! This is what we received:
Once you smashed the seeds/spices, you received the broth:
And you also received a bowl of chopped shrimp, the shrimp looked like they were toasted or baked until it was crunchy:
And then you mix it altogether and had a yummy soup!
Back to more eating and less working! “Tagliatelle of concentrated milk lightly soaked in a silky juice of roasted squash and tomato.” The “tagliatelle” part of this was really interesting! It was like the texture of the part of the creme brulee or flan where the edge tastes harder than the rest of the custard, but harder and chewy, but tasted milky. Hope that makes sense.
“slices of monkfish cooked with the steam of its bones. crispy stew of roasted rinds and lilies.” There’s a steamed fish that my mom would make which included dried lilies…this dish reminded me of my mom’s dish. the fish was perfectly cooked, the crispy rinds/lilies were a nice compliment to the firm fish.
“Coastal fish with crunchy trimmings of aged sourdough and sweet pickled daikon.” This fish didn’t taste like monkfish bc of its thickness…it was very thin like sole but rolled up. It was well cooked too!
“Breast of guineafowl with lobster emulsion and its roasted skin” I’m not sure what guineafowl is but it tasted like a very tender chicken breast!
“Tender sweetbread with roasted parsnip and artisan praline” This was ok, maybe I’m just not a fan of sweetbreads in general…
“Light dices of sculpted apple with figs. Crunchy dark chocolate and mint” The apple part tasted like super thin slices of…apple pie crust!
“traditional almond fairy cake” I really liked this one…it tasted like very light vanilla ice cream with a nice coating of crushed raw almonds…it was a lovely, light dessert!
“Forgotten memory from childhood. Small bite of milky wafer with lemon ice cream” This ice cream was nice because it wasn’t pucker-y lemon. I’m not a fan of lemon/lime desserts but I was ok with this because of that.
Nails and flowers. Looks like rusted nails but it was chocolate shaped into nails, dusted with chocolate powder!
Candies of frankincense. The perfume of eucalyptus barks. After having the nails we weren’t sure which part to eat on this one! Turns out you eat the incense that was still burning! The texture reminded me of cigarette candy that I had as a kid but tasted a little anise-y. I wonder if it was intended to be another rendition of those cigarette candies?
Overall I really enjoyed the experience. Everyone was super helpful and well versed in their new menu. It was cool how they had so many renditions on Asian dishes. Fun times indeed!
Otzazulueta baserria, Aldura-aldea 20,20100