Friday, June 22

Arzak, San Sebastian

This is truly a labour of love. From the restaurant being based in the house built by his grandparents in 1897, to Jean Marie Arzak engaging with every customer continuously throughout the meal, to the food itself which is prepared with such precision and parsimony, and is presented so exquisitely you could not have asked for more. Every thing on the plate is there for a reason-the minced pimientos on the grilled squid gave it a bite every so often, the citrus pips and rose petals that decorated the apple with foie gras gave the sweet-savoury a touch of acid. The green tea crusted lamb was delicate but flavoursome. But the piece de resistance was the chocolate pearls in strawberry soup: would never have expected the pearls to burst in my mouth as they did, and for them to ooze rich chocolate! Wow. By the way, the wine was excellent, and the coffee also was the best I've had in San Sebastian. Even the sugar cubes were of superior quality, and as some of you may know, I'm very particular about my sugar cubes.

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