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0207 3000 0300
With three Michelin stars awarded to his Bilbao restaurant Azurmendi, Basque chef Eneko Atxa’s arrival in London is quite an event. One Aldwych’s basement has been transformed, with part of the roof removed to create a double-height ceiling, allowing light to flood in while offering intimate dining beneath what is now a mezzanine. Dressed with chestnut tables and deep-red corner booths, the space is striking and appealing, if not cutting-edge stylish. The food is more accessible than at the chef’s continental establishment (Atxa will visit here once a month), with a succinct menu split traditionally into starters, mains and sides.
Prices aren’t quite as steep as an Aldwych hotel restaurant permits, with value more apparent once the food arrives: a theatrical starter of oysters, crabs and wild prawns rests atop smoking seaweed; an ordinary-sounding talo dish (a thin corn tortilla) is festooned with tomatoes, flowers, herbs and pearls of oil, pulsating with flavour. Our highlight was a lightly battered chunk of fall-apart hake, enlivened by a thick, red-pepper sauce swimming with confit vegetables. Not one dish we tried disappointed in taste or looks; presentation is paramount. Liquid accompaniment is provided by a well-edited, if expensive, all-Spanish wine list; staff will lead you to appetising pairings. Atxa has certainly done his London research, producing an unfussy menu and setting with broad appeal. Dish descriptions are perhaps too sparse, and prices creep up, but diners wanting an introduction to The Basque Country’s scintillating cuisine (or simply a delicious meal) won’t be disappointed.
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Best Spanish restaurants in London
Pre and post-theatre dining
SquareMeal 2 Stars
0207 3000 0300
Temple Tube Station 400m
Covent Garden Tube Station 419m
Duchess Theatre 62m
Lyceum Theatre 67m
Tues–Sat 12N-2.30pm 5–11pm (Sat –2.15pm)
The stylish surroundings coupled with the restaurant’s wine bar make the exclusive hire of Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar a convenient option for large parties of up to 150.
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I have been to Eneko for lunch twice now and I see this restaurant as simply unmissable.
It is the most inventive, interesting and delicious food.
The wine list is fascinating.
The service is excellent.
The cocktail before lunch was top notch.
The surroundings are extremely comfortable (if slightly prone to echoes - but aren't all restaurants these days?)
Eneko deserves to succeed - it deserves a visit from anyone who is serious about food.
Food + drink: 4
We ate at Eneko two weeks ago and the food was outstanding - the lobster perfectly cooked and the sauce risk and a perfect complement. The hake tempura was one of the best dishes we've eaten for a long time. So yesterday I took a "foodie" friend to try the hake dish. It wasn't bad - but it was nothing like the same dish two weeks previously: and certainly not good enough to make visiting the restaurant and repeating our order worthwhile. Perhaps the inconsistency reflects teething problems. Perhaps by coincidence, the first visit was characterised by excellent service by two friendly and informed waiters. The second visit was much more slapdash - and we had to call for a waiter to order and had difficulty attracting someone's attention to pay. A shame.
We arrived for an early dinner and were greeted by a muddle at the reception desk. The staff eventually led us to a table which was not in a good place and we asked for a better table only to be told that the all the better tables had been booked. We too had booked. Eventually after being assertive we were place on a good table. We were close to walking out as this was one of the worst welcoming experiences we have had in many years and restaurants
From the on the experience was wonderful
Our waitress was from Santiago Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain and was exceptionally helpful and friendly. Our young Daughter who has been coming to two and three star restaurants since she was 4 days old was managed well. At 4 days old we dined at Trishna in Marylebone which still remains one of our favourites.
The menu is short which is refreshing and each selection was unusual for London. it was a creative and brave menu reflecting the strong Basque influence. The menu was divided into sea, meat and vegetarian. For starters we had the
Memories of the Bay of Biscay and the fish soup which were both wonderful. They were innovative and nothing like we expected from other top restaurants. The Bay of Biscay had a surprise which was unexpected and leave for other diners to enjoy.
For the main courses we had the Duck, Pork and Hake all of which were wonderful and unusual
For the desert we had the Cappuccino cheesecake, ,Chocolate and pear cake, and the Basque ice-cream. The Cappuccino Cheese cake was wonderful and the others innovative.
For wine we had Rose Rioja Baja, La Rioja, which was light and complemented the range of food we had ordered and finished with the Bizkaiko Txakolina Basque Country desert wine which is worth repeating.
Congratulations to a new restaurant which has produced excellent food and been brave enough to innovate to produce real Basque style food.
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