The trend for casual dining continues apace, with the launch of Basque chef Eneko Atxa’s new restaurant in London’s One Aldwych hotel.
A departure from the precise creations at his three-Michelin star establishment Azurmendi, in Bilbao, the food here, is playful and casual, with a DNA that is a clear extension of the chef’s fine-dining Basque roots. As such, dishes such as the fish soup, which has been reduced to an intense, treacle-like consistency, are compact with powerful flavours, while the hake’s light tempura batter, provides a delicate steam casing, allowing the fish – rightly revered by the Spanish – to be delivered in perfect simplicity.
This is all served up in a space outfitted by London-based firm Casson Mann, who smartly addressed the challenges of the restaurant’s basement location with an intelligent design and a strong attention to detail; a palette of rich reds, neutrals and copper panelling emerges in a range of of fabrics across the banquettes and in furnishings such as the butterfly-jointed tables, which highlight artisanal quality.
The absence of a ceiling allows diners to look upwards where a mezzanine bar, suspended over the restaurant, is the perfect spot for a pre-prandial glass of wine from Atxa's own vineyards, pared with a selection of delicious Basque-inspired bar bites.