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Eneko at One Aldwych

Eneko at One Aldwych for Sunday Brunch


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Restaurant Reviews
- Eneko at One Aldwych

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Eneko at One Aldwych

Eneko at One Aldwych for Sunday Brunch


Eneko at One Aldwych

EnekoOne Aldwych is a smart and celebrated hotel and, as its name suggests, occupies the front near-side corner of that sweeping crescent called Aldwych. Eneko is its latest restaurant, taking the basement place of Axis, which I had always enjoyed.

Eneko opened in London last year and is a sibling of one of the Basque region’s most celebrated restaurants, Azurmendi, by Eneko Atxa, outside Bilbao. That has three Michelin stars and is listed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Eneko was conceived in the Basque Country and its food showcases regional produce, cuisine and culinary concepts in the most delicious and contemporary fashion.

Basque cuisine includes grilled meat, fish and bean dishes, and pintxos, which are Basque tapas found in bars along the alleyways of San Sebastian. But there is wine, too, such as the excellent and young txakoli. It’s a sparkling, crisp white wine with hints of tart green apples. It’s often presented as an aperitif and can be marvellously paired with not only the aforementioned pintxos but also white fish and light pork dishes. It’s always served young and vibrant. Until the 1980s, txakoli was a rustic home-made wine and in danger of dying out but now that some varieties of txakoli have achieved Denominación de Origen certification (like the French AOC) this wine has become more popular. The all-Spanish wine list includes wines exclusive to Eneko at One Aldwych, and some of them come from Eneko’s own vineyards! There are surely few restaurants in London who can boast that!

Eneko The lead team at Eneko have been trained by Eneko Atxa, from whom the restaurant takes its name. We didn’t meet the chefs on our visit but the front-of-house staff acted as first-class ambassadors for those in the kitchen. Born and bred in the Basque region, Eneko is evidently proud of the food of his home and he has adapted traditional dishes to suit London. Head Chef Edurne Martín Delgado has worked closely with Eneko Atxa since 2006 and has been responsible for much of the menu, which is well-balanced and even whimsical.

Yes, this is a basement restaurant but it successfully contrives to be spacious and well-proportioned with artful use of natural materials such as stone and wood. Eneko isn’t flashy with accents of gaudy bling, but rather it exudes a charm and a crafted cosy elegance.

Eneko But it’s likely one would visit Eneko for the food rather than a discussion on interior design. I started the meal with a glass of the aforementioned txakoli to accompany the Txerri Boda Pork Festival - chorizo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread, suckling pig tempura. A porcine fiesta that started with the serving dish, which was a wooden box, the lid of which was a carved pig’s head. Theatrical and amusing, this casket held a delicious array of savoury bites. This must be a signature starter.

Traditional Talo was my guest’s choice. This was crispy corn talo (a flatbread) with heritage tomatoes and fresh herbs and served as a brilliant spring garden. It’s true that we first eat with our eyes and this was dazzling but also a delightful dish to eat …with one’s mouth.

Basque-style hake in tempura was my companion’s main dish. This came garnished with confit of vegetables, red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion. It was a simple presentation and no worse for it. The delicate white fish was cooked to succulent perfection in its coat of batter. Nothing fussy. Nothing elaborate but just a good solid and confident plate.

My main dish was seared duck breast, julienne of king oyster mushrooms and pickled red onion. Yes, granted, this was a somewhat more elaborate preparation but the culinary frills did nothing to mask a great piece of duck which needed nothing other than the soon-to-become-famous mashed potatoes – don’t miss these!

Strawberry sorbet and rose marshmallow was our shared dessert. It would seem to have been a lightish dinner but we were stuffed with delicate flavours and lots of good cooking and I wouldn’t have given anyone a thank-you for a steamed pud. This fruity creation was pink and beautiful with a marshmallow as soft as a cloud and just a suspicion of roses. This would have been a most romantic end to a meal, but we’ve been married for almost three decades.

Eneko There are few restaurants of this quality that I have enjoyed so much. It has a relaxed ambiance, a great location but it’s the food and wine that will assure a loyal following. Eneko didn’t disappoint.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: Lunch noon – 2.30pm. Dinner 5pm – 11pm
Sunday: Lunch noon – 3.30pm. Dinner 6pm – 10pm

Brunch
Saturday: 11.30am - 3pm
Sunday: 11.30am - 3.30pm

Phone: 020 7300 0300
eneko@onealdwych.com

Eneko at One Aldwych
London
WC2B 4BZ

Visit Eneko here

food and travel reviews

Eneko at One Aldwych for Sunday Brunch

eneko stairs Located near Covent Garden in the heart of London's West End, Eneko at One Aldwych is one of this writer’s favourite eateries. It is a delightfully stylish restaurant and wine bar from the acclaimed Basque Chef Eneko Atxa.

This basement space takes advantage of a 2-storey ceiling at one end which offers diners in that area a view of the tops of trees and sky through the original ornate glass door at street level. Stairs are clad with copper, walls with grey stone and tables are of light wood with hardwood embellishments. Eneko designers have used natural materials and simple lines.

It’s a relaxed and informal setting for a Sunday Brunch from Chef Edurne who has been instrumental in creating the menu and is in charge of the London kitchen. Most of the dishes here won’t be familiar to the untutored so, for the first Brunch at least, order the tasting menu.

We started with an aperitif. Golden Mary is a unique and fresh-tasting twist on a classic Bloody Mary but this one has a striking summer-gold colour rather than the expected red. It’s still made with vodka as in the original but Eneko uses spiced vodka. The regular tomato juice is replaced by golden tomato juice; a stick of celery is swapped for celery foam, which has a much more pronounced flavour than the fresh vegetable. The cocktail looks more delicate than a Bloody Mary and is served in a Martini glass. A refined touch.

eneko tomatoesMy guest chose the Basque Cobbler which is a striking fruity wine punch. This is port-wine red and garnished with slices of kumquat and a bunch of mint. This must surely be the Basque equivalent of Spanish Sangria. It’s light, delicious and refreshing.

The aforementioned Tasting Menu for the Weekend Brunch is £50 per person and gives a thorough overview of the Basque-inspired fare here. Traditional Talo – crispy corn talo or tortilla with heritage tomatoes and accents of basil emulsion – is a signature dish and it’s on the a la carte menu, too. It’s strikingly beautiful and vibrant with colour from both tomatoes and edible flowers, and all served on individual wooden platters.

The second Tasting Menu dish was Cerdito Caliente, “Hot Hog”, which was a simple dish but actually my favourite from this bill of fare. A Basque muffin is the vehicle for this outstanding savoury treat. Thin slices of Iberico ham top mushroom duxelle and both fill the bread bun, which is very much like what Americans might call an English Muffin and what we in England call …a muffin! It’s a white bread, as opposed to the sweet muffins we find in coffee shops.

eneko yolkEggs Yolks Tempura is intriguing and perhaps the classiest comfort food for which one could ever hope. A whole egg yolk seems to be deep-fried with a crunchy coating. One breaks through this to allow the still-liquid yellow yolk to bathe creamy potatoes and tangy confit vegetables. This is a masterful presentation but one which will raise a smile from any lover of imaginative food. Yes, imaginative but still nestled within the realms of familiar comfort.

Then the main courses arrived. Txuleta is Basque-style prime rib of beef and served with a crisp spring onion salad. Those onions were mild and well-textured – a perfectly balanced platter when served with chips. But Monkfish garnished with specks of garlic, chilli and parsley was the main-course winner. The flesh of the fish was perfectly cooked and opaque. The spices were subtle, presenting a fish which was still naturally flavourful.
Torrija was created by Alice Serafini, the Pastry Chef at Eneko, and ended this substantial Brunch. This is a Basque vanilla bread-like cake with a caramel top crust and soaked in a sweet custard. This was partnered with a caramel crumble ice cream and it was a perfect finish to this meal, which displayed both tradition and innovation. If you are looking for a meal which is considerably different but not at all challenging then don’t miss Eneko at One Aldwych.

eneko fish Opening times
Tuesday to Friday: Lunch 12 noon - 2.30pm
Dinner 5pm - 11pm
Saturday: Brunch 11.30am - 3pm
Dinner 5pm - 11pm
Sunday: Brunch 12 noon - 5pm

Eneko at One Aldwych
London
WC2B 4BZ

Enquiries: Phone 020 7300 0300

Email: eneko@onealdwych.com

Visit Eneko here.


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