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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction (Restaurant, Hotel)

Picture of Ametsa with Arzak Instruction in Belgravia, London

The Halkin by COMO, Halkin Street, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7DJ
Cuisine: Spanish
Tel: 020 7333 1000 | Email to Ametsa with Arzak Instruction | Transport: Hyde Park Corner | Write review

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction Review

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Top 10 things we discovered about Ametsa with Arzak Instruction Restaurant when we visited:

1) It’s important to begin by talking about the influences that shape the restaurant completely – in its menu, restaurant design, hosting. Arzak, or Elena Arzak as she’s better known, was voted Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in 2002 (no mean feat indeed), and has teamed up with her father Juan Mari Arzak and Mikel Sorazu, Igor Zalakain and Xabier Gutierrez. A dream team if ever there was one.

2) The restaurant has some quirky design concepts. From the ceiling hang phallic-looking containers that we were told were test tubes filled with different spices taken from its Basque Spanish counterpart, the three Michelin-starred Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian.

3) Yes, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is this restaurant’s full name. No, I don’t know why they didn’t call it something shorter.

4) It replaces David Thompson’s world-famous Michelin-star Thai restaurant Nahm at the Halkin Hotel. I can’t help feeling a little sad that Nahm is no longer a resident in London. I had been meaning to go for months.

5) The fact that Ametsa replaced Nahm made it all the more important that my experience was a good one.

6) It was and it wasn’t. The atmosphere - while somewhat clinical and cold, with people talking no louder than a whisper - was made infinitely warmer by the waiters and waitresses who rushed to refill our dwindling wine glasses or take away our plates.

7) We began the tasting menu with a glass of Spanish Cava, not Prosecco, not champagne. Cava is the Spanish equivalent, and ruddy nice it is, too. It’s not imperative to get the tasting menu with wine pairings, but, for a truly gastronomical journey around Spain, you really should.

8) My food highlights included an inventive assortment of amuse-bouches. The fish mousse with lotus flower was innovative and exciting in texture. Later, a tuna dish was meaty and vibrant, laced with salsa verde that awakened my senses.

9) Unfortunately, some dishes disappointed. The king prawns were undercooked – almost blue – and the sweetcorn soup that accompanied it was cold and claggy.

10) Dining at Ametsa left me confused. Did I like it? Did I not? The truth is: both. You win some and you lose some.
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