I first tried Basque cuisine at Taste of London circa 2013. A restaurant from Spain’s Basque Country was there demoing and I distinctly remember how delicious the pork tasted. After a bit of research, I discovered that Spain’s Basque Country is the ultimate destination for epicureans, with an array of Michelin-starred gastronomic legends, like Azurmendi Restaurante – renowned Chef Eneko Atxa’s three Michelin-starred restaurant and the #16 restaurant in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
When the opportunity came up to try out Eneko’s London offshoot – Eneko at One Aldwych – I was thrilled to say the least! I had heard such lovely reviews from other bloggers and friends that have dined there before, that I was bursting with excitement to finally visit myself.
We arrived to Eneko at One Aldwych on a balmy sunny evening. It was one of those rare occasions that the temperature soared well into the 90s, and I felt as though we may as well be in the Basque Country! Ciaran and I trekked through Central London and over to the Strand, that by the time we arrived, we were both most ready for a refreshing cocktail! We made our way down the stairs and the rush of air conditioner cooled us off straight away. Our delightful server brought us over two crisp glasses of Cava – the perfect libation to kick off our evening with.
Ciaran and I kicked back and relaxed in bar, toasting to our wedding which is only two months away now! After finishing off our drinks, we made our way down the stairs, into the ambient restaurant. The vibe of the restaurant is relaxing and even though it’s technically underground, bright light shines through from the skylights above so you can still enjoy plenty of sunshine when it decides to make an appearance! Deep red leather banquettes feature throughout alongside industrial stone beams and hand-made tables imported from Bilbao. Oh, and I couldn’t help but admire the gorgeous flower arrangements dotted throughout both the bar and restaurant. Colourful hydrangeas and seasonal flowers were some of the most beautiful I’ve seen.
We were brought over warm bread and smothered it with this addicting butter mixed with basil and sea salt. As we were rather enjoying the bread and butter, we had a look over the menu and wanted to order one of practically everything. Eneko himself and the Head Chef made their way over to our table introducing themselves and also very kindly offered to bring out an array of signature dishes – to which we both excited for!
Our lovely server Janel cracked open a bottle of Gorka Izagirre, a fantastic Biscayan wine that can be found in a vineyard right outside Bilbao. The wine was delightful – cool, refreshing with notes of butter and hints of wood – this particular style of wine, for me, is delicious. It was a really lovely introduction to wines from this region. I had never wine from the Basque Country before, but I would definitely love to sample more in the future.
A show-stopping starter of white rum, passion fruit and lemon juice infused with red tea enclosed in white chocolate balls on a tree made its way on to our table. This jaw-dropping spectacle was nearly too pretty to eat and I’ve never seen anything like it before. Each morsel burst with delicate citrus flavours and it was truly a spectacular way to start off our dinner.
Followed by the beautiful Traditional Talo – a crispy corn crisp topped with heritage tomatoes, basil and flowers.
The Cauliflower in Textures – which is cauliflower served four different ways. An interesting combination of textures to say the least – it was flavourful and delicious. I wish I was more of a fan of cauliflower in general, but if it tasted like this every time, I’d probably eat it more!
The Suckling Pig Tempura with slow cooked pork shoulder and an out of this world bacon sauce hit the spot. The slow-cooked pork shoulder melted in your mouth and there was just the right amount of crispy tempura.
The real highlight of the entire dinner for me was this gorgeous duck seared duck breast with julienne oyster mushrooms. Wow – the presentation was simply gorgeous and the duck cooked to perfection. I’d never had oyster mushrooms before – which have a noodle like consistency but they complemented the duck really well. If you visit Eneko at One Aldwych, I highly recommend getting this dish!
We also tried the Hake Tempura Basque style with red peppers and parsley emulsion. Another perfectly cooked tempura dish, to me this was a Basque spin on traditional fish and chips! I loved it. Delicate flakes of hake with crisp tempura melted in our mouths and the red pepper and parsley emulsion tasted delicious with it.
Fully embracing our cheat day, we decided to indulge in dessert, and I am so glad that we did because again, like the rest of the dishes we were presented with, the dessert also had a real WOW factor both in presentation and in taste. Just click play and you’ll see what I mean!
Ciaran went for the rose marshmallow with strawberry sorbet, which looked beautiful. I am more of a chocolate person when it comes to desserts, but Ciaran loved it.
And for me, this gorgeous Torrija – Basque vanilla sponge with caramel crumble ice cream (insert heart-eyed emoji!) It was the perfect way to end our brilliant meal. The sponge melted in our mouths and the combination of the caramel ice cream with the saltiness of the sponge was divine. A truly lovely dessert.
We left absolutely elated and impressed at how incredible our dinner was. Everything from the service, to the wine to the food was impeccable and I already can’t wait to bring everyone I know back to Eneko at One Aldwych. We had a spectacular evening.
*I was a guest of Eneko at One Aldwych, but all views and opinions are my own.