Basque region's restaurant scene heads to Shoreditch
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Spanish
Address : 95 Curtain Rd, London , Shoreditch , London, EC2A 3BS, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.sagardi.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Sun: 11am-11pm
Closest Tube : Shoreditch High Street, Old Street
San Sebastian has one of the highest per capita numbers of Michelin stars in the world, which is incredibly impressive for a city of such diminutive proportions. Over the past few years there's been a lot of analysis into what makes the cuisine so delicious, and certain types of foods and cooking methods have had a spike in popularity elsewhere. It makes sense, then, that Basque food is becoming increasingly popular in London. We went to Sagardi - an ambitious new venture on Curtain Road in Shoreditch - to investigate how it fared.
Sagardi is not your average Spanish joint. In fact, it's an incredibly multi-faceted enterprise. As you walk in you pass an expansive butcher shop window behind which an extensive range of meat was displayed. Basque beef is currently having its moment in the sun and has become one of the most coveted cuts in the world, rivalling even that of the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. Sagardi is the perfect place to try it. They also boast a massive wine wall with a number of bottles you won't find anywhere else.
Upon settling down at our table we decided to let our server do the heavy lifting and choose most of our dishes. He returned with a traditional Basque aperitif: a Getariako Txakoli Hondarribi Zuri 2015. With a bit of effervescence, it was a cold and crisp commencement to our meal, and paired extremely well with a pair of snacks: pan con tomate served with a grassy olive oil and crunchy sea salt as well as Iberian ham croquettes - their crisp carapace caving in to reveal a molten, cheesy centre.
For our second wine we were offered an Itsas Mendi, Bizkaiko Txakolina Hondarrabi Zuri, a fruity yet dry selection served achingly cold. It turned out to be the perfect partner for an heirloom tomato salad and monkfish garnished with sweet chilli peppers.
And then came the main event. Txuleton is Basque beef or barbecue prepared over a live oak-fired grill. There are a variety of breeds available but if you want to try the most famous Spanish beef, it has to be the Galician. Our steak was served on the bone with a charcoal smoulder on its exterior, very rare on the interior. We washed it down with lashing of Uco Acero Malbec from Mendoza, which had the apposite body to match the flavourful beef.
At this point, we were so satisfied from Sagardi's generous portions that we couldn't look at the dessert menu, but wed be keen to return on another trip. Sagardi is more than a Basque ambassador to London, it's an absolutely brilliant restaurant.