Basque via Belgravia

The Arzaks bring their brand of molecular gastronomy to London

Purveyors ofspectacular molecular gastronomy Juan Mari and Elena Arzak – thefather and daughter team behind San Sebastián’s three-Michelin-starred Arzak – aresetting a sprightly foot in London this spring. Their newBasque restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, opens on Friday March 8 at TheHalkin by Como, on the hallowed ground previously occupied by the highlyacclaimed Thai restaurant Nahm.

Booking opensat 9am on Friday February 22 for the first international outpost of Arzak, which is ranked numbereight on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and has long been a placeof pilgrimage for gourmands seeking avant-garde adventure.

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Elena Arzak,voted 2012 Veuve Cliquot World’s Best Female Chef, will be among thefive-strong team – together with her father, Mikel Sorazu, Igor Zalakain andXabier Gutierrez – who will deliver the “new Basque cuisine” that has broughtArzak so much success. While a certain amount of British-sourced producewill be on the menu, its heart will be firmly Basque, with typicallyearthy flavours, and dishes of hake with cockles, cod, calamari andox cheek with vanilla.

Thesurroundings promise to be as impressive as the food. Created by ABRogers Design, 7,000 glass containers will hang above diners’ heads. They are partsculpture, part chandelier and filled with vividly coloured spices, whichrepresent a key element of Arzak’s cuisine. Along one mirrored wall areengraved illustrations of these spices.

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“Ametsa”, saysElena Arzak, “means ‘dream’ in our language – the dream of a kitchen beyondour frontiers, in the middle of London.” And Londoners themselves willcontribute, mouthful by mouthful, to making the reverie a reality.

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