One Aldwych has long been one of my favourite hotels in London. I love the super relaxed vibes, the delicious cocktails in the lobby lounge, the beautifully decorated room and their famous film and fizz nights make the perfect date. But the hotel has taken it all up another notch with the reinvention of their main restaurant and the transformation into Eneko, serving modern-Basque cuisine.
A sweeping rose gold stair case leads down to the basement restaurant – a light and airy space with a super high ceilings, vibrant red booths, fresh flowers and wooden accents. In fact many of the materials for the restaurant have been sourced from the Basque region adding to the authenticity of the place. `
But one of the main reasons the restaurant has been in the spotlight is the starry chef. Eneko Atxa is renowned for three Michelin star restaurant, Azurmendi in Bilbao which is also no.16 in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants. At the heart of Eneko’s philosophy is harmony and the desire to remain true to his heritage, using sustainable practices whilst giving people great pleasure in their dining experience.
I was meeting a friend who I haven’t caught up with in ages and we got started on a really good bread basket paired with basil butter, all whipped up and perfect for spreading. With it being so long since we’d caught up, it was one of those where it took us half an hour to even look at the menu…
We did manage to order a glass of wine though…and our lovely waitress made a suggestion for us of a white that paired very well with Spanish food. The wine bar actually only features Spanish wines, carefully hand picked and some of which are exclusive to Eneko at One Aldwych.
To be fair, I knew what my starter was going to be before I even got there. Having seen the crispy corn talo with heritage tomato and basil emulsion on Instagram a few times already, I was keen to try it for myself. I’m a big fan of tomatoes but they never taste as sweet in the UK as in the Meditteranean… where ever Eneko are sourcing their tomatoes, they’re on to something. Plum, juicy and vibrant, they topped a tortilla disk with other tasty flowers, herbs, olive and those delicious dots of basil.
Though neither of us are vegetarian, there’s plenty of choice if you are especially in the starter section. My friend chose the beetroot tartare – which really did resemble a steak tartare – once again a beautifully colourful and vibrant dish. Pickled red onion added that touch of acidity, potato crisps provided the crunch and the side of vegetable barbecue sauce gave some smokiness. With so many different flavours every bite was unique – a very clever and multi-dimensional dish.
My main course salmon was really beautifully cooked, with delicious flakey flesh and a perfect crisp skin. You could taste the freshness of the sauce too, a combination of mussels, asparagus and peas. The only thing I will say is that while the presentation was pretty it’s quite hard to eat out of those cauldron pots on a board and I’d prefer a normal plate.
My friend really enjoyed her hake tempura which was crisped to perfection and served Basque-style. Portions are delicate allowing you easily enjoy three courses without feeling overly full.
If they are a little too delicate you can always order side dishes. Though I have to say we weren’t too convinced on ours. I went for the stuffed piquillo peppers, and personally I would have enjoyed the peppers unadulterated. The thick bechamal sauce was a little too heavy and lacking in flavour – another option is the buttery mash potato which I’m told is very good!
Our first dessert came with a little theatre.
The rose marshmallow was a really great choice for a light dessert, fluffy, cloud-like and not overly sweet. Adding the dry ice to the rose created a fragrance to stimulate the senses so that you smell your dessert before you try it!
But what we really loved was the accompanying strawberry sorbet and fresh strawberries.
Even better was the salted caramel mousse paired with cookie crumble, little orbs of white chocolate and sheep’s milk ice cream. I love that salty and sweet combination as it just elevates the taste sensation.
We really enjoyed our lunch at Eneko. It’s a restaurant the combines beautifully stylish interiors with well-presented and tasty food. I’m really glad to see One Aldwych upping their game with a more exciting restaurant.
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I was invited to review.