Last year I was invited along to one of the launch parties for the SAGARDI restaurant in Shoreditch (please check out my review), the food was amazing - so imagine how excited I was when my partner won a competition on the SAGARDI facebook page to go and sample the new summer menu!
On arrival we were greeted by the marketing and sales executive for the restaurant, Jon who explained that the Chef would be coming out with each dish that he had prepared and would talk us through it.
We were served drinks and a plate of traditional pan fried txistorra (that’s chorizo to you and I) was brought out to us along with some sourdough bread and olive oil in which to dip it. The txistorra was meaty goodness and then some, it had a great smokey flavour to it which went down well with the bread and olive oil. The bread we were told was made fresh each day and purchased from a local bakery, the bakery itself is only able to make just over 200 hundred loaves a day and once they are sold, that’s it, it was therefore a good job for us that SAGARDI seem to have a standing order with them, otherwise we would have missed out on this wonderful bread.
|Tomato salad using meta de cabra, cor de bou and cherry tomatoes|
Having polished off the txistorra the Chef brought out the next dish, a simple farmhouse tomato salad using meta de cabra, cor de bou and cherry tomatoes from the SAGARDI garden which are flown in each week. The tomatoes were dressed in olive oil and finely sliced Ibarra chilli with a sprinkling of salt, which really brought out the flavours. When I say simple, I mean that in as much that it was an easy dish to prepare, however there was nothing simple about the flavour of the dish, you seriously cannot beat the flavour from a home grown tomato which coupled with the olive oil and chilli made for such a tasty course and one that I will be making myself when my own tomatoes ripen!
To be frank, I would have been more than happy to have just devoured a plate of the tomato salad, however there was more foody goodness to come and we were soon brought out a plate of grilled hake “kokotxas” from Hondarribia.
|Grilled hake Kokotxas from Hondarribia|
On first look I thought they were fat anchovies but it turns out the are hake chins, who knew they had chins! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really eat fish so you can therefore imagine what was going through my mind, the first thing being I hope Scott likes them because he is going to have to clear the plate! Well obviously it would be rude not to try them, you can’t really comment on something unless you have at least tasted it. Well what do you know, I like hake chins! I was seriously surprised by the texture and also the flavour - kind of salty and somewhat gelatinous. We were told that this is a real delicacy and very difficult to find outside of the Basque Country. The kokotxas come from hake that are at least 4kg in weight and are cooked in a charcoal grill with pretty much nothing else done to them in order that they retain the natural flavours and texture.
|Pagos de Araiz Rosado Navarra|
With each of the dishes that we were served, the sommelier paired them with an appropriate wine, I have to say the rose that we tried, Pagos de Araiz Rosado Navarra, was by far my favourite, the aroma alone was so intense and fruity.
|White tuna from the port of Bermeo|
Following the kokotxas the Chef then brought out white tuna from the port of Bermeo which was served with a fresh tomato sauce and green Ibarra chilli peppers. Again, fish! Was someone out to get me? Well, what can I say other than I loved it, the tuna was so meaty, I almost forgot I was eating fish! The sauce that accompanied the tuna along with the chilli peppers really enhanced the flavour, luckily we had more bread as well too mop up the sauce, waste not want not as they say!
There was me thinking that was it, hell no! Chef comes out with yet another plate, this time beef sweetbreads with roasted tomatoes and yes, I was thinking exactly the same as you are now, however as it turns out these were not those type of sweetbreads, these were from the neck, phew!
|Beef sweetbreads with roasted tomatoes|
I really couldn’t actually give you a description of what these tasted of, they were nice, especially the edges which had crisped up, they were soft in the middle and the roasted tomatoes complimented them nicely but again, its difficult for me to liken them to anything, I guess you will have to give them a try yourself and if you do, let me know what you think.
|Peach in txakoli syrup with vanilla ice cream|
Just when you think you couldn’t eat another thing, Chef brings out dessert (time for me to loosen my belt!), peach in txakoli syrup with vanilla ice cream. Just incase you are unsure, txkoli is a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine produced in the Basque Country. This was very nice, however at the time I was slightly disappointed as I was expecting to be wowed after having had such a wonderful meal with so many different flavours and taste sensations, that said and in hindsight, it was actually the perfect end to the meal, simple and light, there was no need for anything heavy or intense.
We rounded the meal off with a cappuccino along with dark truffles with a hint of Sagardoz apple liqueur. I have to say whoever makes the truffles deserves a Knighthood for services to the country, oh my days, these just melted in your mouth, I think they should box them up and sell them! Mmm now there’s an idea I might take up with them!
What can I say, it was a very welcome return to SAGARDI, we were once again knocked out by the amazing food and the great service, I couldn’t fault a thing and hey, I ate fish! There is plenty of choice on the menu so certainly something for everyone, we got to sample some of the highlights from the menu which I am sure is going to be a big hit. Thank you SAGARDI for a great evening and for looking after us so well.
|Cider Pouring at Sagardi|
Had lovely feedback from Sagardi for my review! It's great when restaurants appreciate my reviews!