Álvaro Garrido
Country: España
City: 48003 Bilbao
Address: Muelle Marzana, s/n
(+34) 944795938
Closed: Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday. Last week of July and two first weeks of August.
Price: 60/70 €
Tasting menu:: 55 y 69 €

We have always highlighted the chef’s outstanding mind and privileged palate as well as his pragmatism and effectiveness. Some more praises must be added now, such as the fact that at 34, he has been able to propose a different cuisine, away from fashions and models; a personal cuisine that will probably end up giving birth to an own style. For now, his dishes don’t look like any others. His constructions are usually ingenious, very elaborate and complex, provided with enormous nuances that don’t affect the purity, the harmony nor the wittiness of tastes. Some eccentricities may appear here and there, but very exceptionally. These are just understandable “pranks” played by a creator who intends to be original without resorting to any “technoemotional” stereotype. The dishes hide a deep and realistic reflection that escapes from hypocrisy and labels.

If you go for the 10-dishes menu –we strongly recommend it–, you will discover some of the pertinently ingenious contributions of this great chef. You might even eat better than in many three-Michelin-star restaurants, that is a fact.
For audacity, concretion and humility, taste the mussel broth emulsified with olive oil, full of sea in the mouth, accompanied with little pieces of tomato, avocado, capers and grated Tonka beans. Another culinary chef d’oeuvre full of elegance and harmony is the slightly roasted anchovy served with its jelly, cauliflower cream, white chocolate with tandoori, broken egg yolk and sprinkled green tea. Essence, technique and purity are brought together in the delightful tuna filet cooked at low temperature, which seems to be raw, lain over a layer of aubergines that swims into an exciting consommé of red tea and lime, sweetened with honey, which bring subtle contrasts and magnifies the main ingredient. Let’s repeat it: the chef is artistically committed and runs risks to represent unusual flavours on the scene, like with the slices of kid liver, vacuum-packed, heated in a salamander stove and garnished with a foam made of beer and hazelnut and a sauce prepared with oysters and sesame. Alvaro pays tribute to Manolo de la Osa, one of his masters, with a monographic composition on violet garlic from Las Pedroñeras: young garlic, pickled garlic, boiled and fried garlic, black garlic… lain over a refined and racial garlic cream. Nobody had ever made the most of this liliaceous plant. More bravos and champagne can praise the best spider crab ever: the juices and the meat from the shell, cooked without boiling, just hot, enhanced by an emulsion of the crustacean and by a magic seaweed juice, and finally brightened with some mustard oil. After the dried salted seafood come two mussels, an oyster and a scallop cooked at low temperature, dry outside –with a millimetric crust– and absolutely “raw” inside. The whole is magnified by a fresh tuna broth reinforced with a hint of dashi; a real ecstasy. After this, the cook pays homage to noble meat: chubby, gigantic quail from Bresse, just like Robuchon’s, roasted and garnished with stewed cod tripe, leaves and fruits.
If he selects his creations and his new dishes on the menu, Alvaro can reach excellence.