Bilbao Berria from Barcelona opened their latest restaurant a 2 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus tube, landing London with their Basque / Spanish cuisine. The restaurant is bang on trend at every angle. Their menu is essentially designed like Tapas / Pintxo. An entire wall acts as a glorious wine cabinet, and a brief giggle fit as we noticed our table was adjacent to umpteen bottles of a wine named “Pricum”.
Bilbao has an amazing interior with copper absolutely everywhere- it’s on the floor and even your cutlery. The design world is crazy for copper right now and the restaurant is totally on the button, looking fantastic.
A comprehensive menu staying true to Spanish tradition but executed with style and unexpected twists. It was also great to see “gluten-free” appearing on the menu as some dietary requirements are often left to the customer to ask what is available.
Our waiter was knowledgeable about the menu, making recommendations on how many dishes to try, and which ones were his favourites. Most of the tables give you a full view of the kitchen and the chefs’ at work, which I love. Even with a busy restaurant the kitchen seemed in control and focused.
Following our waiter’s advice we had the Jamon Iberico Croquettas; filled with creamy cheese and ham- what’s not to like? The Basque Chorizo – cocktail sausage size portions of chorizo wrapped in a filo pastry served with a cream of Piquillo peppers- these were so so good, and I love the idea of crispy pastry and chorizo together. I refuse to eat Spanish cuisine without having Patatas Bravas – potatoes with a spicy sauce- Bilbao’s version was a treat, beautifully presented too. Crisp roasted potatoes with droplet gems of the spicy Brava sauce and also an All I Oli (garlic lemon mayo). If I could eat this everyday, I would. All in all, the entrées were sublime.
The kitchen then sent out a courgette flower to our table. A lovely little touch as it felt like the chef had sent us a foodies version of a rose. But better than any rose or alike, this was stuffed. Creamy, cheesy and herbadacious (not an actual word but it fits here). Courgette flowers can be some peoples idea of hell but not mine- wonderful.
Next up we had the Hog Roast which came with a pumpkin & vanilla puree. The presentation was consistently faultless- the hog roast being served stacked, flesh flaky. A surprise to see vanilla appear here but it really enriches the deep roasting of the hog and is then lightened with the creamy pumpkin notes.
The sauce that came with the Scallop & Iberian Pork stewed with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil was impressive and cleverly calibrated. Fishy, but the good kind of fishy. I did have a crunch of grit with the scallop which was unfortunate but it’s sauce made up for it.
To balance all the meat we had we also selected the Traditional White Asparagus & Sherry Mayonnaise. It’s not often I have asparagus intentionally served cold but this dish made me question why as it was so fresh, unusual and extremely addictive. The sherry sparkles against the woody asparagus and milky mayo.
I visited Palma a few years ago where I had something similar to Bilbao’s Fried Egg with Foie Gras & Straw Potatoes. Delicious richness, a little dish akin to a glorified brekky, if you like. Crispy strawed potatoes soaking up the runny egg yolk accentuated by the Foie’s velvet texture.
And saving best until last, the masterful Dark Chocolate Texture Sample. This dessert captivates chocolate in it’s best lights. A toothsome torte with olive oil to pour over- dark and divine. A strong cocoa hit from a morsel of mousse. Ground chocolate shortbread biscuit to form a crunchy sand, and a glossy sorbet light in flavour completely complimenting the lavishness of the rest of the dessert. Stunning.
Considering the quality of ingredients, precision of presentation, setting and atmosphere, Bilbao Berria is extremely reasonable price wise. For instance; Croquettas are £5 and Hog Roast is £12. For two people, we were advised to order around six dishes between us (this does not include dessert).
This restaurant is exactly what dining is all about for me. Mouthful by mouthful I was enchanted by the brilliance of Bilbao Berria.
ADDRESS: 2 Lower Regent Street, SW1Y 4LR
VENUE PHONE: 0207 930 8408
PRICE: £££ (explained)
STAR RATING: ★★★★★ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: Discretionary service charge of 12.5% added to bill