Eneko at One Aldwych

Chef Eneko Atxa is best known for his three Michelin star restaurant in the Basque Country, Azurmendi. He has a reputation for producing some of the most magical and skilled dishes in the world, so there was, understandably, a lot of excitement surrounding his new restaurant opening at London’s One Aldwych Hotel.


One Aldwych has a prime position in the West End, surrounded by prestigious theatres with plenty of popular tourist sights nearby. I’ve always thought the hotel has a lovely balanced atmosphere… relaxed but smart, and this seems to be the same vibe as the new Eneko eatery. The setting is modern with sparse design furniture and cosy lighting. Upstairs, a bar provides a place for guests to enjoy an aperitif before they dine.


The menu subtly hints at some of the ideas from Eneko’s flagship restaurant… and dishes like the Beetroot Tartare indicate a fine dining expertise merely through the immaculate presentation. Our meal began with delicious bread and whipped green chive butter.


There are already a few dishes on the menu which seem to be Instagram hits… Memories of the Bay of Biscay is a theatrical presentation of seafood jewels, which arrives on a tray of mystical dry ice. While a favourite with foodies is the Txerri Boda Pork Festival, a wooden piggie box opens to reveal Chorizo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread and suckling pig tempura.

I found that a few of the dishes looked better than they tasted, and began to wonder if Eneko’s haute cuisine could successfully translate into a more casual dining concept. From the main courses, Hake in tempura with confit vegetables, red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion was a lovely plate of food. Perfectly flaky white fish in a light batter served on a bed of richly flavoured vegetables and sauce. Seared duck breast with julienne of king oyster mushrooms and pickled red onion was also tasty, a beautiful piece of meat with a complementing sweet relish and topped with pretty edible flowers. The mashed potato was a wonderfully indulgent side dish.


Shortly after the savoury courses were cleared away… an attractive dessert trolley made its way across the room to us. The custom made vehicle featured pretty patisserie, each served with a dollop of traditional sheep’s milk ice-cream. The apple and caramel cakes satisfied the need for a sweet kick but became quite sickly after a few mouthfuls. Luckily the fresh and delicious ice-cream offered an almost savoury contrast, and was the perfect palate cleanser at the end of the meal.

More information and book a table at Eneko here.

Lunch menu, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

San Sebastian is top of my ‘to visit’ list, predominantly because of the unbeatable culinary scene. But if you haven’t got the time to fly to the Spanish coast and want feast on Basque food head to Belgravia to taste the flavours at The Halkin Hotel’s restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction.

The restaurant is a collaboration between Elena Arzak and her father Juan Mari Arzak, along with Mikel Sorazu, Igor Zalakain and Xabier Gutierrez. They have worked closely together to present a unique representation of modern Basque cuisine.

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

This smart restaurant suits the area perfectly, and it is easy to see why the £29 lunch menu is so popular with local business or weekday catch-ups with friends. As we sat down at a light window table I I looked up to see an impressive installation of 7000 large test tubes filled with various spices.

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

The lunch menu begins with an assortment of dainty Spanish tapas: Pork & Pineapple sticks, Crab Tempura with Coral and Black Ink Squid. Each dish was bite-sized, a little explosion of flavour and texture. Our particular favourite was the Crab, which melted in the mouth, a delicious taste of the sea.

Ametsa with Arzak InstructionAmetsa with Arzak Instruction

The main courses were simple and sophisticated, each plate showcasing a few fine ingredients. Mackerel on Banana ‘Escabeche’ was an unusual dish, a fresh seafood recipe with a hint of exoticism from the fruit element. I enjoyed the Chicken with Corn Truffle, a more complex dish with beautifully tender chicken and a lovely smokiness from the corn, I also loved the tiny crispy potato chips served on the served.

Ametsa with Arzak InstructionAmetsa with Arzak Instruction

Spanish aren’t well known for their desserts, aside from sweet snacks like churros. Ametsa presented us with two interesting puddings: a Chocolate and Candy-Floss bundle with felt apart when the sauce was poured over it, and Orange Toast with Spinach, a kind of soft fruity eggy bread. I can’t say I loved either dish, but both were blissfully light, and offered a sweet sugar kick that I so often crave at the end of a meal.

I left this wondrous restaurant with even more anticipation and excitement about one day visiting the foodie land of San Sebastian, and trying more food of this calibre and style.

More information and book a table at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction here.

Takeaway Tea by Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

This week, in celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week, I popped over to the Halkin Hotel in Knightsbridge to pick up a takeaway tea from the Michelin star Spanish restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction.

Ametsa with Arkzak Instruction afternoon tea

With Hyde Park so close by Ametsa with Arzak Instruction saw the opportunity to offer guests a take-away tea option, pairing up with Afternoontea.co.uk to package up everything you need to enjoy their luxurious afternoon tea in the park.

Ametsa with Arkzak Instruction afternoon tea

We searched for a suitable spot, avoiding the fitness fanatics and the kids chasing virtual Pokemon, to a sheltered grassy area under some amazing tall trees. Inside the boxes were lots of carefully arranged treats, immaculately presented despite being made to-go. One savoury container featured dishes like red pepper and avocado toasted sandwich and Iberico ham wrapped crackers. Without a menu we were left to try and guess the flavour of each bite-sized delicacy. Two orange and yellow test tubes contained what I could only assume was a kind of innovative fishcake.

Ametsa with Arkzak Instruction afternoon tea

The sweet treats were my favourite, miniature churros and chocolate dipping sauce, crème brulee cake, and tiny fruit tarts. Along with the array of food the staff had handed me a bag with small bottles of cava and plastic flutes, to add to the indulgence.

It was great fun tasting this imaginative tea whilst enjoying the fresh air and watching the activity that surrounded us. We were very lucky to enjoy some sunshine whilst picnicking in the park… if the British weather was more reliable I could see this Basque takeaway tea being a great success all year round.

More information on the restaurant and all its offerings here.