Eneko at One Aldwych
Posted on 12 December 2016
When it comes to dining in London, we are a city that is spoilt for choice. Beautiful foods, creations and inspiration from across the globe can be found in restaurants lining the streets of the city's iconic and prestigious locations. It is when you combine food, style, design and service that options for fine dining become much harder to find. Luckily, I have discovered a restaurant that prides itself on providing the entire experience, from preparation of the finest quality foods and exciting menu selection to immaculate, theatrical presentation, all contained within the elegant and welcoming surroundings of the restaurant and bar itself. The restaurant I am talking about, Eneko at One Aldwych.
The design of a restaurant should be just as important as the food that it serves. It is all too often that one is prioritised over the other, leaving us with incredible surroundings and a poor selection of food, or fantastic and delicious dishes served within a simple and uninspiring location. From the moment you walk into Eneko, down the modern copper detailed staircase to the bar level, the scene has been set. Almost hovering above the restaurant below, large cutouts to the floor plate around the bar and seating area make it appear as an entirely separate entity. These cut outs maximise the amount of natural light that can reach the lower levels but also connects these two spaces together, allowing the ambience, noises and theatre of the restaurant below, embrace those enjoying the bar above.
Starting our experience at the top, guests and I were treated to a range of bar snacks and bites whilst enjoying a perfect crisp glass of wine. Whilst everything was incredibly tasty, a personal favourite had to be the Iberico Ham Croquetas which I could have continued to eat for the whole evening.
The full bar menu consisted of: Gildak Gordal olive, anchovies and piperrak, Anchovies with olive oil and rustic bread, Sliced Iberico Ham with rustic bread, Piperrak with Green Gernika peppers and Txerri Boda Pork Festival Chorizo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread and suckling pig temura.
The soft lighting, flickering candles and subtle music surrounding us created such a calming and social environment. Guests can talk to one another without raising their voices whilst sitting back and taking in the environment and buzz of the restaurant below.
Making our way down a second copper clad staircase adjacent to the bar, we entered the restaurant space. Angular double height walls lit from below, accentuate the surrounding textures and emphasise the scale and beauty of the room. Impressive floral displays extract the colour scheme of the restaurant, framed by large empowering angular structures. Around the perimeter of the space are vivid booths, encased by curved seating with subtle height variations, each upholstered in a unique shade of red. The red forms the main part of the colour scheme, inspired by the ageing and transformation of chillies over time.
The starters are so impressive that I had heard about them, even before being invited to experience them for myself. Each individually presented in its own characterful way, we were treated to starters from the sea (Itsasotik) land (Lurretik) and the garden (Ortutik)
The menu consisted of: (sea) Memories of the Bay of Biscay Oyster, crab and wild prawn tartare, Fish Soup Clams, hake and gurnard, Langoustine Grilled Langoustine with bacon sauce and herb emulsion (land) Txerri Boda Pork Festival Chorixo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread and suckling pig tampura, Basque Chicken Liver Parfait and Txakoli Apple Layered chicjed parfait and Txakoli wine-soaked apple compote (garden) Beetroom Tartare with sourdough toasts and vegetable barbeque sauce, Traditional Tale Crispy corn talo with heritage tomatoes and fresh herbs and Mushroom and cauliflower Cauliflower cream, egg yolk and mushroom foam.
Whilst I fell in love with the wooden pork box and the treats inside, the starter that was catching everyone's attention was the Memories of the Bay of Biscay. Its incredible colourful presentation is served smoking with dry ice to add a fantastic sense of theatre and excitement to our table. See the video below to get a sense.
Moving to the main course, I had the great pleasure of sampling their grilled salmon with drum wheat and chive emulsion. I have to say that this was possibly the best salmon meal that I have ever tasted and would be one of the many draws for me to return back to this incredible restaurant. The salmon was served with an additional cup of soy sauce, to sip between bites to compliment the many beautiful tastes of this meal.
The main course menu consisted of: (Fish) Cod Bizkaina Cod tripe stew in traditional spicy bizkaina sauce with deep fried cod bites, Hake Basque-style hake in tempura with confit vegetables, red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion, Salmon grilled with drum wheat and chive emulsion (Meat) Duck Seared dusk brest with julienne of king mushrooms and pickled red onion, Oxtail Slow-roasted oxtial with muschroom emulsion, Pork Roasted iberico presa with wheat in chickpea sauce and garlic cream, (Vegetarian) Pisto Bilbaina Courgette, green pepper, tomato, sourdouch crisp and poached egg, Arraultzak Wild asparagus, fried eggs, piqullio peppers, onion and flour crisp, Arroz de Setas Bomba rice, oyster muschroom and ceps emulsion.
For someone with an extremely sweet tooth such as my self, I always look forward to finishing off a meal with a dessert. The Eneko dessert menu is sure to impress with a diverse selection of desserts, ensuring that there will be one to suit all tastes. Whilst I would have loved to sample them all, the raspberry macaron with basil ganache immediately jumped out at me.
The full menu of extremely beautiful desserts consisted of: Gaztaia Basque cheese selection, Torrija Basque vanilla sponge, Cappuccino Cheesekake, Serafina's crème crumble, Errezil apple mousse, white chocolate Salted caramel mousse Chocolate and pear cake hazelnut praline, Soft meringue chestnut cream and port chocolate Raspberry macaron basil ganache Dark chocolate with crumble biscuit base.
My experience at Eneko was one that I really did not want to end. With a diverse selection of beautifully presented dishes, this is a restaurant that I would happily recommend to friends and family looking for a perfect taste and style experience. The surroundings of the restaurant were warm and inviting with the service provided by staff, impeccable. Everything from wine tasting notes, suggestions on how to enjoy the flavour of the meal to theatrical performances of the food. Eneko at One Aldwych has quickly won me over and I very much look forward to my next visit.
For restaurant details, current menus and to book a table, click to view the official Eneko at One Aldwych website via the link.