Tasting menu at Michelin-starred Ametsa with Arzak Instruction
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is quite a long name for a restaurant, but in a way, it was befitting of the lengthy tasting menu they offer…
With the 2017 Michelin guide just having been announced for Great Britain, it seemed fitting to visit Ametsa, which retained its star this year. We were promised an 8-course tasting menu, but it ended up being 11 (plus petit fours)… and I’m not complaining.
Ametsa is located within the COMO Halkin Hotel near Hyde Park, providing the perfect opportunity for a leisurely stroll on a crisp autumn evening. The gorgeous scenery boded well for the dinner, as the London sunset was simply a flavour of the beautiful dishes to follow…
The restaurant prides itself on its decor, including ‘a wave-like ceiling, created from 7,000 glass receptacles filled with spices’. As the evening wore on and we finished our bottle of cava, I would have replaced ‘wave’ with ‘phallic’, but that’s just me…
The best meal and tasting menu of my life remains The Lawns in the Wirral, however, Ametsa and its new Basque cuisine came dangerously close. I particularly loved the bread, and how it came around again and again when we expressed our love for the pumpkin loaf. Straddling the line between sweet and savoury, it burst with flavour when we dipped it in the ‘best quality’ (our waiter’s quote) olive oil, and I do not regret filling up on it one bit.
The cava we chose to accompany our meal was the Marta Rosé Reserva 2012, and it was divine. Just look at that colour!
Other stars of the show were the plate of bite-sized aperitivos, with our favourite being the kataifi with scorpion fish cake – a crispy delight with no danger of the pastry of overpowering the filling. Unusually for me, as I tend to dislike the sweet-savoury mix, my favourite dish of the night was the tuna with cinnamon on fire, closely followed by the egg in the leaf. Throughout the evening, all the flavours were complex, yet distinctively Spanish, particularly evident in the langoustine crunchy-crepe. And when our final course arrived, the big truffle, which I remembered having at the Taste of London, I was pleased to discover that this one was even bigger, and the beautifully sweet and gooey brownie surprise in the middle was even better.
We had a wonderful time at Ametsa and I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion. My only tip would be to stop looking at the ceiling once you get going on the wine…
I won a Twitter competition run by Squaremeal and received the tasting menu at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction for free, but we paid for our drinks and service.
It’s been on my list for awhile! Dangerous games with the endless bread though…they had that at Eneko so maybe it’s a Basque thing?
The Spanish do like their bread… but normally it’s white and tasteless, so this was a pleasant surprise!!
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