El Bodegón Alejandro has a reputation for breeding Michelin-starred chefs. Martin Berasategui took over the family restaurant aged 21 and transformed it into what it is today – a perfect blend of rustic tradition and modernist refinement. I’ve been twice now and each time I’ve been blown over by the quality of the food and the service. The first time was during San Sebastian’s restaurant week, when restaurants all over Guipúzcoa offer a three-course menu of seasonal cooking for just 25€ including drinks:
We started with an appetizer of lentil soup with thin wafers:
- Fresh ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms, served with prawn jus. The ravioli were beautifully delicate but the creamy prawn jus that they were swimming in was just a little too rich and filling for me.
- Farm eggs baked at low temperature on a bed of potatoes mixed with virgin olive oil and cod jus. One of the most delicious egg dishes I’ve ever tried – I don’t think I’ll ever want to eat a ‘fast-cooked’ egg again!
For the main course:
- Baked fillet of hake, with crushed potato and citrus vinaigrette. The best dish on the menu – the citrus vinaigrette perfectly cut through the flaky fish and fragrant olive oil.
- Grilled Iberian pork with mashed dried fruit and sautéed oyster mushrooms. Chris was won over by these mushrooms – I sincerely challenge anyone who dislikes mushrooms not to be.
- French toast soaked in fresh cream and egg yolks, pan-toasted and caramelised, with cheese ice cream. The cheese ice cream worked very well with the French toast and the textures were spot on. A rich dessert but even after a heavy meal it was impossible not to make room for it.
- Light chocolate cake, coffee custard and frozen cream of Armagnac. Presented as if it was moon rock – thoroughly delicious but the French toast takes the biscuit.
And to finish, a little cup of ‘leche merengada’ (a milky drink with cinnamon and sugar) and miniature madeleines (a lovely unexpected extra):