Our chefs at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar
began the year with an exciting culinary adventure, as they joined Eneko Atxa and his team in the Basque Country.
The major refurbishment of One Aldwych
posed the ideal opportunity to travel to the region where it all began and get to know the Eneko family inside out.
Head Chef Javi Blanco, accompanied by Sous Chef Jose Jara and Floor Manager Celia de Freitas, spent a week exploring the Basque Country while based at Eneko Atxa’s ground-breaking three Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi
in Larrabetzu near Bilbao.
There they worked alongside Eneko, Head Chef Matteo Manzini and their team, immersing themselves in the spirit and philosophy of this magnificent complex that also includes the Gorka Izagirre winery and Restaurante Eneko.
The trip was certainly fruitful, as Javi, Eneko and Matteo developed new dishes for the re-opening menu at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar. In particular, the Txoko concept of having a party around food and celebrating in a casual setting, just like the much-loved Basque social cooking clubs, will launch here soon.
Outside of the kitchen, Javi and Jose toured the spectacular Game of Thrones filming location San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Lekeitio and the charming fishing village of Bermeo, as well as Bilbao’s vibrant bars and restaurants.
Head Chef Javi Blanco said: “a memorable moment for me was visiting the family-run factory of Conservas Yurrita. It’s the oldest canning and salting company in the Basque Country that produces some of the finest anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea”.
Following closely in their footsteps were three of our talented chefs – Robin Kunc, Gugu Mpofu and Lorenzo Corsetti.
The London team assisted in the kitchens of both Azurmendi and Eneko Bilbao, preparing the mise en place for different sections and learning new techniques. Highlights were discovering Eneko Atxa’s experimental Jakin laboratory and the Azurmendi green house that represents the Basque landscape.
Staff meals were spent socialising with fellow training chefs from around the world, enjoying fine Basque produce such as local farm chicken, fresh eggs, indulgent cheesecake and Gorka Izagirre Txakoli
In their leisure time, they were able to visit Bilbao and taste its famed pintxos. On their impressions of Basque food, the chefs said: “it was amazing to see all of the restaurants with counters full of pintxos, made with such pride and attention to flavour".
They added: “We found the Basque people to be proud of their traditions and community, with a real passion for their local produce”.
Delving deeper into the gastronomy of the Basque Country was a dream come true for our Eneko team. They can’t wait to dazzle you with a Txoko-influenced feast when Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar re-opens this spring.