Chef Oskar Urzelai brings Basque cuisine to the capital city.
Basque Country has always known as one of the desired destinations in Spain. Many people travel to the region just to enjoy its unique culture, and, of course, food. Luckily, we don’t have to travel thousands of kilometers away to get that experience since the Spanish chef, Oskar Urzelai has brought it to the town in an artsy restaurant called Txoko.
The name ‘txoko’ originated from a private gastronomic society in Basque Country where people not only can eat and socialize but also cook together with friends and family, as well as experiment new ways of cooking. The two floors restaurant has a Mediterranean touch with bright and cheerful vibes in its detailed interior. Covering the wall by the hand-painted titled “The Comb of the Wind” which done by a Spanish Basque sculptor, Eduardo Chillida, Txoko wants to show the authenticity of Basque Country.
When The Peak visited Txoko at Senopati, we started the meal with Welcome Bread that served with four kinds of colorful butter made from different ingredients; mushroom (brown), spinach (green), beetroot (red), and tomato (orange). The bread was homemade and consisted of the soft country loaf, the buttery focaccia, and the crispy grissini stick with sesame seeds. Next, we had Lettuce Hearts Salad with Sardine Cream. Made from the mixed lettuce, black olive, shallot, also tomatoes, with olive oil and sardine cream dressing, the salad had a strong taste yet still balance, light and very fresh.
Since the region located in Northern Spain and South-West of France, Basque cuisine, surely, influenced by both countries. Chef Oskar embodied it in a mouthwatering dish called Escargots with Idiazabal Sauce in Puff Pastry. Escargot is known as a popular ingredient in French cuisine, while Idiazabal is a typical Basque cheese made from raw sheep milk. In Txoko, the crunchy pastry was filled and topped with the easy-to-chew escargots, then perfected with the creamy and cheesy Idiazabal sauce that enriched the flavor.
Txoko also had two interesting dishes that used squid as its main material. First, we tried Squid Donuts in Black Ink Sauce. The donuts had crispy skin but once we bit it the black ink sauce filling burst, then melted in the mouth and delivered full and savory flavors. The second was Seaweed and Squid Mellow Rice, an eye-catching green-colored dish that tasted similar to Paella. The rice was well-seasoned and had a rich flavor of seafood broth, also served with tender baby squids.
At the end of the meal, we had Euskadi Tropical that gave a lot of flavors in one plate. The dessert consisted of a scoop of frozen yogurt served with pieces of pineapple and coconut flakes. It was not only satisfied our sweet tooth but also refreshed the palate with its fruity and sour sensation.