Arbelaitz Miramón

Melón con jamón en textura
Joxe Mari Arbelaitz
Country: Spain
City: 20009 San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa)
Address: Parque Tecnológico Miramón. Paseo Mikeletegi, 53
(+34) 943308220
Closed: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, one week in Easter, the last 12 days of August and Christmas
Price: 70/125 €
Tasting menu:: 100 € y otros concertados €

We had been saying it for quite a long time: “Joxe Mari Arbelaitz has been creating one of the most solid and successful restaurants in Guipúzcoa”. And we may add “most versatile”, and “most one-of-a-kind regarding marketing and culinary strategy”. Defining this house’s cuisine is a really hard work, actually, because although it has no specific style, it does not look like any other. 
What we can say is that this erudite and modern cuisine arouses admiration among the guests without ever defrauding their palate, offering original and velvety historic flavours; an innovation that also applies to the forms, pertinently elaborate. Products are always stellar and doneness is synonymous with purity and juiciness. In short, José Mari’s dishes reflect evident maturity, admirable savoir-faire and delightful happiness.
This clairvoyant practice appears through the hardly marinated horse mackerel, pure and utterly fresh, served with a green tomato jelly, semidried baby tomatoes and fennel cream; as simple as effective. The most complex and sophisticated dish is a game based on two melons, Cataloup and green melon, proposed in the form of slices and jelly, which hide a foie gras cream. The whole is soaked with port brushstrokes, a strip of dehydrated ham and, separately, some “roses” of acorn-fed Iberian ham; sweet, sour, acid and salty sensations… Another far-reaching construction is the marinated tuna cube with julienned pods and mango, mullet caviar and cloud of tuna and curry oil; an intense feeling of rawness with sweet and smoked touches. Seeing the way two “bare” sea products (clams and spider crab) are gustatively perfumed and reinforced with black truffle is really curious; a very original combination that does not affect the essence of the animals at all. The velvety cod cube served with chickpea water and spices, baby leek and sesame is definitely immeasurable. The quail –a game you can not find any more–, majestic, fresh and elegant, hardly cooked on both sides, red, bloody, garnished with an attractive truffle purée, sautéed mushrooms and sprouts, is unique. We finished the feast with a dessert that reminded us the mastery we enjoyed so many times with the famous apple pie served with custard: sautéed sherries, almond cream and apple ice cream with hints of cinnamon. 

The winter-spring menu is as brilliant as this summer proposal. The raw oyster, for example, served into a gelatinized essence of the seafood, softly enhanced by some seaweed, is full of exquisiteness and deep ocean sensations. The grilled artichokes proposed with mushrooms, vegetable ribs and ham juice that reinforces the flavours without affecting the rest are a clever recreation of classicism. Following the same philosophy, but with a deeper elaboration process, here are the pickled aubergines with sautéed shallots. The chef innovates on recognizable traditional flavours. The sea urchins, the clams and the cockles, served with the magic contrasts of a sweet broth (fennel cream and fried anised herbs), are full of sea flavours. The steamed hake, with its pink doneness, covered by some pickled red pepper sauce and lain on a citrus pil-pil sauce, is a bit more classical, because of the covering dressings and the density of the enhancing elements. The poultry and the large pieces of meat (the chef likes hunting) are as tremendous as usual: bloody venison loin, marinated and roasted with blueberries, chestnut purée, sprouts and some more ingredients (complements may not be lacking!). José Mari also shows he deserved his prize of Best pastry cook of the year in the Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía guide. To dispel any doubts, just taste his delicious game between cheese, apple and quince; an entire and harmonic construction, like all the other proposals in Arbelaitz’s cuisine.
In short, José Mari Arbelaitz is very pleased about doing what he really feels like.