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A truly overwhelming experience at No. 7 of the world: Restaurant Mugaritz (16. November 2019)

| December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

I was looking very much forward to dining at No. 7 of the world according to the Acquapanna / San Pellegrino List of the 50 best restaurants of the world and I must say, I was not disappointed. I was overwhelmed. We went for the “tasting menu” (EUR 200.00) – not that we really had an option though ;-)

The evening started with “Fractal: romanescu + Soil: fresh pea + constant: porcini and “fino” + colour: carotene roots” which was a very interesting combination of different foods and nibbles you would eat by hand.

And given it was served in modular way, “Life: Inert vegetation” was added. I did not only like the dishes served but also the way it was presented.

Next was “Inside: Frozen threads” which was a frozen piece of fish but full of flavor.

The next was “Joy: Sea urchins ‘zurrukutuna'” which was much better than any sea urchin I have ever tried before.

One of my a favorites was the “Inflation: foie, armagnac, truffle, etc.” as it was one simple bite but it was intense in flavor.

What I absolutely loved although it didn’t entirely look like that appealing was “Like: European lobster, American sauce”. The dish was just a delicious combination of smooth textures.

Also amazing was “Chance: Velvet geometries”. Basically it was liquid bacon flavor captured in a cheese cube and when you ate the cube, the liquid would just explode in your mouth and provide you with that intense flavor of Iberian ham!

The “Cicle: Maillard and raspberry” did not look that appealing but was actually delicious.

The duck “Texture: warm skins” was good but the consistency of the meat was a bit too stringy for my personal gusto.

The “Symbiosis: Stacked time” was again a great combination of flavors and consistencies as well as temperatures.

Now, the next course did not look all too appealing but it was incredibly good. The “Prejudice: Iberian ‘presa’ loin” was basically different ways of how you can serve Iberian presa. And it was all just amazing. Even the middle part which was seaweed just soaked in the presa flavor – delicious!

The next course was rather interesting as you would have to eat it from your bare hand – the “Gesture: Octopus crumbs” which was basically crumbles which had a seafood flavor. So, in terms of flavor it wasn’t too much of a revelation but in terms of the way you eat it, it was great!

Next in line was fish – the “Heritage: Skate with black butter” was especially lovely because of the black butter they served with the fish. It had and intense flavor which made the dish very enjoyable.

One of the things which was most interesting that evening was the ‘ray’ – “Tribute: Bolo de mel”. I have never eaten sting ray before and I felt a bit bad but it was actually incredibly delicious!

Next in line was kind of a first dessert …

… called “Handicraft: Roasting an obsession” and served with honey which was nice.

What I liked more though, was the “Technique: Animal sponge” as it was rally a “beef cake” while it was somehow already time for dessert …

But then, they prepared the next interesting dish which was basically “Rite: Rum seeds”. So you were gathered around a little table where they prepared rum for you of which apparently only two barrels exist in the world and the second one was sold for USD 500’000 to Singaporean millionaire.

So, you get fresh, flavored vanilla seeds with a gulp of rum … and it is a very intense and interesting combination.

Then it was time for chocolates … many of them …

Starting with “Cacao Nibs Cru Udzungwa, Trinitario Beans, Udzungwa National Park, Tanzania” …

… followed by “Arhuaco Businchari 82% Cacao, Businchari Beans, Arhuaco Territory, Colombia” …

… followed by “Tanzani 80% Cacao, Slightly roasted” …

… followed by “Piura Porcelana 75% Cacao, White Beans, Piura Valley, Peru” …

… followed by “70% Cacao, India, Roasted” …

… followed by “69% Cacao, Tanzania, not roasted” …

… and finished by “Beni wild harvest 60% Cacao, Beni River, Bolivian Amazonia”. Frankly, almost a bit too much chocolate for me although it was interesting to taste the different chocolates from different corners of the world and I learned that I’m not a big fan of chocolate from Tanzania.

I haven’t written much about the wine pairing. The reason being, it was just too much. In the end, I tried 28 (!!!) different wines which was just overwhelming. I like the fact that they do an active pairing with very interesting combinations in terms of what you get (like wines from 1950) but also, to be honest, it was just too much. You get wine after wine after wine and all of it in a speed that you barely have time to focus on the food. So, I would recommend you to actually enjoy the food and then maybe go a second time to do it with a wine pairing (Armonia Denbora (EUR 300.00, resp. EUR 330.00 according to the menu).

What I liked a lot was the fact that we were brought into the kitchen …

… where you could watch the chefs a bit. They have a total of 44 (!!!) chefs in the kitchen distributed over two floors!

And the menu changes every day. They basically have a list of things they can cook and depending on availability of things on the market, they serve a different menu almost every day. Secondly, they check your name and make sure that you won’t get the same food again when you visit again (at least that is what they said).

The place is nice in terms of interior design but nothing spectacular.

The service is a bit overwhelmed by the speed of the kitchen which is also true for the sommelier.

Sometimes we had to wait like 3-5 minutes until the wine was served with the food. Which is somehow a bit annoying since you would want to enjoy the two things in combination. Especially if you get up to three (!!!) glasses of wine with each course.

All in all, I liked the experience at Mugaritz but it was too overwhelming somehow. Just too much of everything. Not necessarily of the food but the whole surrounding was just too much. The speed is tremendous, the wines are definitely interesting but your mind and your palate can’t cope with it anymore. Not so much because of the amount but just because of the pulsing of the food and the wine. However, I can recommend you to give the Mugaritz a try. Be prepared to be overwhelmed!


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Mugaritz

Aldura Gunea Aldea 20

20100 Errenteria, Gipuzkoa (E)

Tel.: +34 943 52 24 55

Homepage: http://www.mugaritz.com

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
EUR 2'400.00 (incl. tip) Filed in: Restaurants, San Sebastián, The World's 50 Best Restaurants

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