Fashion Food at “Azurmendi” – LARRABETZU, SPAIN

Eneko Atxa Chef at Azurmendi LARRABETZU, SPAIN

Perched on a hillside just outside Bilbao with stunning views of the Basque countryside, chef Eneko Atxa’s restaurant is a game-changer in more ways than one. The striking glass-and-steel building is a trailblazer in eco-friendly design, with features such as solar capture, geothermal heating and rainwater harvesting, plus its own internal greenhouse growing dozens of native vegetables.

Atxa’s cooking is equally pioneering, with cutting-edge gastronomic techniques a feature of his kitchen. The chef, who previously trained at famous Basque restaurant Martin Berasategui, has collaborated with the local university to develop completely new cooking methods. Ultrasound is used to alter the texture of food and the chef has devised a unique system for capturing flavour in ‘three-dimensional’ essences and aromas.

The scientific wizardry is used to spectacular effect in dishes such as truffled egg ‘cooked inside out’, which involves replacing some of the yolk with a hot truffle stock that cooks what remains from the inside. Other standouts include ‘ashes of foie gras’, made with smoked foie, and the ‘earth tea service’, which sees diners brew and pour their own mushroom ‘tea’ at the table.

The dining room combines natural wood and granite floors to create a serene space from which to admire the views, while guests are also invited to tour the restaurant’s gardens and kitchen.

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