A week ago I had the pleasure of having dinner at Nerua restaurant of the Guggenheim in Bilbao together with other gastronomic bloggers thanks to an invitation from Fagor Industrial, which has been the company in charge of cooking it.
That little detail allowed us not only to enjoy the creations of the Chef Josean Martínez Alija , but we could also chat with him and know his way of understanding the restoration, which has a lot to do with the peculiar design of the kitchen.
As I said, the restaurant is located inside the museum itself, and its decoration follows a style similar to that of the building, with its curved lines and warped surfaces. Another peculiarity is that the kitchen, at the express request of the chef, is open to the public Almost entirely; something unusual and that allows you to see how dishes are prepared from the bar, where you can eat if desired.
Chatting with Josean Martínez Alija
Before dinner, Chef Josean Martínez Alija was telling us about his way of understanding gastronomy and of the reasons that had led him to open his kitchen to the diner, as well as the decisions he had made in terms of equipment to adapt it to his taste.
I really liked that you think that kitchens and chefs should not hide from the client. He does not share the idea that it is done between stoves to be magic and the tricks should be preserved, but he considers that seeing cooking is something that is part of the food, something that we already did as children watching our mothers trajinar between casseroles before enjoying what came out of them.
I was a little surprised to say that I had chosen an induction hob instead of gas hobs, but assured that given his way of cooking, he preferred the precision of the induction to the power of the fire. My attention was also drawn to the size of the kitchen, but it makes sense when you see the dining room, which is designed not to accommodate too many guests.
The terrace of the Nerua restaurant
After the talk, we go up to the wonderful terrace overlooking the restaurant, where we enjoyed a small snack while watching a magnificent sunset.
He cherry wine and elderflower They served us quickly disappeared from our hands after the intense visit to the museum and the kitchen. Even so, we could appreciate its fruity flavor and fine bubbles as we began to taste some of the delights that passed before us.
In total there were three: cod crusts with paprika from the side, black olive and Idiazabal ears and bilbaine quibbles. Each one was special in its own way, although perhaps the olive cookies will remain longer in my memory for their texture and flavor, intense and full of nuances, with an air of tapenade.
Now that we're done with the appetizer, it's time to go back down to the dining room to enjoy dinner, a very complete tasting menu of which I will describe the dishes that impacted me the most.
To get started, a plate of tomatoes in sauce with aromatic herbs, where each tomato was different and provided a unique cast of flavors, many of which reminded of many Italian sauces. It was interesting to enjoy each tomato knowing that the next one would no longer taste the same. The ephemeral experience made you appreciate every nuance.
After the tomatoes came some roasted eggplant strands with "makil goxo" Of which I remember nothing special. It is not that they were not rich, but they languished after the explosion of flavor that each tomato was.
Once the starters were finished, it was the moment for which the star dish was for me, although not all the diners shared the same opinion with me. It was about a tuna loin on a garlic and caper broth Ballobar with lemongrass it was delicious.
Very golden on the outside and practically raw on the inside, it offered a range of flavors and textures I have rarely been able to enjoy such delicate fish to prepare as tuna. The capers and the lemon accompanied perfectly.
The last dish was a grilled foie that, although it was equally delicious, was not so striking and captivating. The dessert, strawberries under a crispy violet closed gently an evening of flavors at the Nerua restaurant, Demonstrating that there is also art in the kitchen of the Guggenheim.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Tel. 94 4000 430