Tomate, fresa y parmesano
Ixak Salaberria
Country: Spain
City: 20120 Hernani (Guipúzcoa)
Address: Ctra. de Goizueta, 68. Barrio Ereñozu.
(+34) 943550031
Closed: Mondays; Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; two weeks in Easter and from 24/12 to 31/12.
Price: 60/120 €
Tasting menu:: 49 y 89 €

Ixak Salaberria has come back to his original way of being. After some years reforming his work without altering the essence of his philosophy, reinforcing the commercial acceptance of his proposals, he decided to divide the menu into two clearly distinct sections: one with all the typical local offer and another one with the dishes that express the unmistakable style that has been defining the chef’s personality. In the plate, that means that the main ingredients can be sometimes raw, in many cases cooked at low temperature, or slightly cooked and swimming into broths or accompanied with liquid delights that are synonymous with neat flavours and watery consistencies, almost always translucent. Very reflective constructions made up with few elements that express themselves in a very subtle and harmonic way and whose contrasts hide a very deep sensitivity. Exquisiteness. A stimulating exquisiteness that provides both palatal and mental pleasures, without eccentricity. Intelligent and ingenious flavours aimed at convincing and satisfying more than at impacting the guest. A mature and innovative cuisine.
The tasting menu, which gathers all the last creations of the chef, is imperative. Although you can always opt for some traditional specialties, these are exceptions, such as the famous Iberian belly pork with almonds milk nectar and pork essence with eucalyptus oil; glorious. This proposal has actually been transformed, altered into a different version: black pork chin –melting, scrumptious, satiating– covered with the animal’s juice, enhanced with eucalyptus and served with a thyme and eucalyptus infusion; a result that equals or even surpasses the original idea, because the juiciness and the intensity of the chin are stronger than the belly’s. This is the biggest and the best demonstration of gastronomic fat in Spain, anyway.
Ixak always works on the same style and the same ingredients. Cod is there every year. This season, the fish appears in the appetizers and in a “Lent stew” more than in the form of filet, as it used to be. To start the meal, a delicate Micryo bite sprinkled with green tea and stuffed with a spongy and convincing cod brandade. Later, a poached egg, with the yolk slightly heated –explosive, extremely delicious, dressed with smoked tea– is served with numerous little pieces of cod and spinach, altogether swimming into a chickpea stock. Its lightness and purity couldn’t be any more appetizing and convincing. Reformism and historical memory. Rice is never missing either. It is proposed in a creamy way, with a chicken and mature sardine stock, and enhanced with a candied, natural and extremely juicy sardine as well as with two pertinently stimulating and refreshing counterpoints: candied grapefruit and basil; one of the most delightful rice dishes in the world. The mushrooms are other classics from the house. Proposed in the form of curd or consommé, covered with raw slices, pine kernels and mustard leaves, they deserve 10/10 for the technique, the refinement and the definition they hide. The sea is expressed in all its splendour: prawn soup –the animals are almost raw–, sea lettuce and pieces of bread (the “sopako bread”, as called in the Basque recipes). A really original summer salad that reaffirms the palatal precision of the chef: crushed tomato seasoned with garlic, arugula, oregano, mint, vanilla-flavoured salt and carnation petals, altogether covered with a creamy strawberry ice cream and Parmesan chips. And the paradisiac sceneries go on and on, until the utterly clever Gorgonzola ice cream arrives, proposed with cooked and blended apple, gingerbread, spring onion and sprouts; a new galaxy of traditional flavours.