It wasn’t all pintxos in San Sebastián (though really it mostly was). But I had told Gabriella @tenedor that I wanted to invite her for a nice meal while I was there in thanks for her generous hospitality. At first she recommended Elkano, just a short drive away in Getaria. But as we were making plans on the fly the whole time I was there (kind of the way I like it) in the end there was nothing available. Then Gabriella remembered Amelia, a place she had only visited once when they first opened just over a year ago. And within that time they have earned a Michelin star.
I’ve only been to two Michelin star restaurants before (1 stars, like Amelia), and was seriously underwhelmed. But Gabriella’s PA Katharine had just been to Amelia the previous evening and said it had been perfect. It was a sign.
Run by Argentinian chef Paulo Airaudo in an attractive and discreet location with minimalist décor in the Romantica district, Amelia seats just 22 people, and there are only two tasting menus on offer. We ordered the smaller version (100€ pp), but somehow ended up with the larger one (130€ pp), not including wine. And while I could have done without the extra desserts, the star of the show (for me) was the hake with caviar and buerre blanc, which we would have missed out on with the shorter menu.
Although the Basque Country is awash with Michelin star restaurants, for the most part they are located outside either San Sebastián or Bilbao, so you’d either have to hire a car (and then not be able to drink), or a private driver. When I told Paulo that it was such a big point in his favour that he was in the centre of San Sebastián he simply said… Bingo!
It was also fun chatting with the new sommelier – a charming young man called Alex. They have a few nice sherries on the menu and it may turn out that I will meet up with Alex again one day in Jerez.
And so, here you go.
Possibly the best – definitely the most expensive – meal of my life.
amuse-bouche in the kitchen
tomatoes in jamón broth – OMG that broth
chicken done three ways with slow-cooked egg yolk
freshly churned butter with maldon salt
bread with salted butter, olive oil, roasted bone marrow
the bone marrow!
parsley risotto with sea snail
sardine with thin beetroot strips and crème fraîche
hake, beurre blanc and caviar – my favourite dish of the day
aubergine, burrata and criolla
sweetbreads, black garlic and courgette
champagne and palo cortado
don’t remember what this was… a flan?
chef Paulo Airaudo prepares our dessert
zacapa rum ice cream, fig, balsamic oil
apple, fennel and dill
the infusion table