Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lasarte. 2 stars.

With the sugar rush from all the earlier juices, I got ready for what was going to be a very challenging evening.

See... there's this place I'd wanted to go to ever since I heard of it a year or two a go. It's a place that was opened by a pastry chef and does dessert degustations. More on that later, but it troubled me somewhat. Firstly, if the place only does dessert, surely I have to have some savoury food first?

So I made a booking at Lasarte, which just received its second Michelin star in this year's guide. It's also the only restaurant in the city to have multiple stars.

Ah, but another problem. Lasarte's earliest booking is 8:30, and the late sitting at the dessert place is 11. And it's across town. Not a lot of time to change over.

So in the interests of time (and diabetes) we walked into Lasarte with the intention of not only ignoring the tasting menu, but also ignoring the dessert menu.


By some lucky twist of fate, Lasarte also offer “small” entrees. Entrees designed to be eaten in a couple of bites. You don't say...

And so, with some careful ordering, we had a DIY degustation. We would each order a different mini-entree, entree and main, and eat half the dish each. Brilliant!

Lasarte came to the party by bringing out some tasty appetisers and bread.

So we kicked off with a mille-fuille of eel, foie gras and apple. Kind of like a mini lasagne really. Great flavour combinations and fantastic texture. I took 55% of that dish.

A swap and dish of langoustine with a sea urchin mousse with some other things I forget. It's also good, but not as good as the mille-fuille.

Entree time and I kick off with one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, sea cucumber rice with, if I remember correctly, apple and black pudding. It's good. Very good. Like a paella, but with sea cucumber instead of normal toppings. Salty and luxurious.

A swap and I have a some jamon as well as some toast, lightly brushed with tomato. The jamon is damn good and the bread doesn't taste superfluous like I feared; it works well.

Main course time and I stuck with the old “fat is flavour” saying and went for pigs trotters stuffed with black pudding and some other stuff. What comes out is monumentally unctuous. The fat has been taken from the trotter, stuffed with a rich filling and then cooked. It's soft, gooey, sticky, rich and so, so good. When the suggestion is made to only swap 1/3 of this course, I pose absolutely no resistance. I finish and the dining companion is still eating his course. I'd flown through the trotters.

But the time comes and I sadly part with the trotters. In exchange I get the rack of lamb. Frankly, it's boring. Small pieces of lamb and a few adornments. It's excellently made, but unsatisfying. I want my trotter back.

We still have a little time up our sleeves (or so I think), so we go for some coffee. The coffee is excellent and the petit fours well thought out, unlike some of the merciless onslaughts I got in France.

We leave, and my only regret is not having enough time to return for the degustation. Well, that and giving away the trotter. Concerningly, we're both full and the dessert degustation starts in half an hour.

Michelin star tally: 29

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