*We purposely missed our flight to Paris preferring to drive from Burgos (Spain) to Caen (France) for our friend’s wedding. Maybe the rally gave me a taste for driving long distances, whatever it was, I couldn’t face the delays and hassles associated with air travel.
I used the Michelin guide to pick a restaurant for lunch, happily, it is now online: www.viamichelin.com, (they need to do an iPhone application next I think). Azurmendi, looked like my kind of place; clean lines, brown and white palette, young chef, not overly fussy: except when it came to the food.
Our schedule meant that we couldn’t linger over the tasting menu so we opted for two dishes each and three shared desserts to get a feel for the place. They started us off with their signature dish: an egg yolk that had been infused with truffle oil. “To be eaten in one bite”, were the instructions given to us by our young maitre de table. It exploded in our mouths; musky, salty and warm. It was sensational but somehow it bordered on unpleasant for both of us. We had to shake it off and reframe our minds so that we could go on.
The “Garden” I ordered was beautiful to behold, interesting to eat, conceivably inspired by Rene Rezepi’s edible dirt. My husband’s lamb came in a rectangle, flanked by some savoury paper-thin tuilles, with two lozenges of essence enclosed in a transparent skin.
We ordered three desserts. One used liquid nitrogen, which bubbled and spewed over the table. In the dessert of cherries, half were real while the other were molded out of jelly. The chocolate that enclosed the passion filling was silver-coloured, I was surprised to discover that chocolate and passion fruit go together rather well.
With our coffee, we were given sheep’s milk flavoured with fisherman’s friend, a bunch of what looked like sheep droppings (intentional?) but turned out to be chocolate covered pistachios and some candied hazelnuts. The first sip of the milk made me grimace but weirdly, it grew on me and I drank my husband’s as well.
I scooted off to the bathroom, knowing that on car trips with my husband, pit stops would are rare. There I found a basket of complimentary, restaurant branded toothbrushes. I was reading on Gourmet Chick’s website that the Fat Duck now gives it’s customers goody bags and I wonder if these little favours edible or not, will be the next trend for restaurants.
The other thing that struck me about Azurmendi was that despite it’s ranking in the guide; it welcomes a variety of customers. There was a table of businessmen; two tables of ten young people, one couple even came with their 6-month-old baby, which no one even seemed to notice. I like that, it depresses me that often the people who eat in these types of restaurants are the ones who probably don’t appreciate it that much. Instead, it seemed everyone was welcomed here.
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* I will be writing from various cities in Europe for the month of June and will be back to Berlin and Berlin based posts from July. In the meantime check out “Places I’ve Eaten in ” for more reviews on restaurants in Berlin and “Berlin Favourites” for the places I recommend. And of course, I always love your comments and your emails so write!