Where is your dream holiday destination?
Mine is Spain, in particular the coastal city of San Sebastian in Northern Spain. San Sebastian is a foodies' paradise, being the birthplace of the famed Basque cuisine. The pintxos bars (the Basque word for tapas) in this city are almost legendary. Fine dining lovers are also in for a treat; a trip to San Sebastian will launch you into a galaxy of Michelin stars, as San Sebastian houses a number of the best restaurants in the world. Unfortunately Spain was not a part of my itinerary during my last trip to Europe. But it will definitely be at the top of my list for my next Euro trip!
This takes me to the familiar surrounds of est, which hosted the Spanish Inquisition, which was part of March into Merivale. For one night, executive chef Peter Doyle created a 6 course tasting menu (2 entrees, 2 mains, 2 desserts). At $150, this is much cheaper than a return ticket to Spain and no passport is required for this trip!
Each course is inspired by a dish found at a Spanish Michelin star restaurant.These restaurants and head chefs are:
- Martin Berasategui, Lasarte 'Oria; Head chef: Martin Berasategui (3 Michelin stars, 64th in San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in World 2013 list)
- Quique Dacosta, Alicante; Head chef: Quique Dacosta (2 Michelin stars, 26th in San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in World 2013 list)
- Mugaritz, San Sebastian; Head chef: Andoni Luis Aduriz (2 Michelin stars, 4th in San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in World 2013 list)
- El Celler de Can Roca, Girona; Head chef: Joan Roca (3 Michelin stars, 1st in San Pellegrino Best Restaurant in World 2013 list)
|Spherified olives, rosemary - El Bulli|
|Charcoal potatoes, garlic aoli - Mugaritz|
|Mille feuille of foie gras, smoked eel, spring onions and green apple - Martin Berasategui|
|Bomba rice, saffron and scampi - Quique Dacosta|
|Roast mulloway with crystals of edible scales, white chocolate and seaweed - Martin Berasategui|
|Roast beef with ash, radish and vines - Mugaritz|
|Lychee sorbet, meringue and gel - Quique Dacosta|
|Bergamot ice cream, orange blossom, maple syrup and vanilla - El Celler de Can Roca|
I love the flavour of bergamot and the bergamot ice cream had loads of it, so I was very happy. Segments of fresh mandarin and a mandarin sorbet were delicious and added tanginess to the dish. The vanilla creme patissiere was rich and decadent. Then there were two types of jellies: orange blossom with its fragrant and floral notes and maple syrup, which tasted distinctly woody and caramelised. And the most surprising component of all, basil coulis. The sweetness, mintiness and pungency of basil just works brilliantly in desserts.
The Spanish Inquisition provided me with a taste of the wonderful cuisine of Spanish Michelin star restaurants. But I want the real thing. Time to start planning my gastronomic trip through Spain and put San Sebastian at the top of my list of must visit places!
Highlight: The scampi in the bomba rice dish. This is the type of cooking that makes est. one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. Can't forget the El Celler de Can Roca dessert either.
Lowlight: Although enjoyable dishes in their own right, the meal did take a slight dip with the main courses.
Overall: I had a fantastic night at the Spanish Inquisition sampling some wonderful dishes inspired by some of Spain's top restaurants. As always, the food at est. delivers in a big way and keeps me coming back time and time again. 8.5/10 (Excellent)
Contact no: (02) 9240 3000
Go for Gold and March Into Mervale at est. - 2012
Address: Calle de Loidi, 4, 20160 Lasarte-Oria, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Contact no: +34 943 36 64 71
Address: Urb. El Poblet, Ctra. Las Marinas, km 3, 03700 Dénia, Alicante, Spain
Contact no: +34 965 78 41 79
Address: Aldura Aldea, 20, 20100 Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Contact no: +34 943 52 24 55
El Celler de Can Roca
Address: C/ de Can Sunyer, 48, 17007 Gerona, Spain
Contact no: +34 972 22 21 57