Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Scenes from la Veranda by Martin Berasategui (from upper L, clockwise): flower arrangement, lamps at dusk, chinaware and the sommelier.

Yesterday evening, we had a preview of the degustation menu at the soon-to-open La Veranda by Martin Berasategui in the Hotel Villa Padierna. The restaurant is being relaunched and managed by three-star Michelin chef from the Basque region, Martin Berasategui. It’s a nine-course tasting menu of modern Andalusian cuisine which highlights the special flavours and ingredients of southern Spain. Here is the exact menu which we had with matching Spanish wines – a sherry and orange juice cocktail to start, followed by a light and fruity Verdelho, a dry Chardonnay, a Syrah and finally some sweet white wine from Malaga.
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First bites
Carrot, orange and coconut shot; Tomato bread with olive oil and basil and Green asparagus in a jellied consommé

Tapas
Caramelized mille feuille of smoked eel, Foie gras and green apple, chive cream
Mediterranean shellfish with pipirrana, ginger and seaweed
Traditional stewed sweetbreads with potato foam and assorted nuts

Mains
White garlic and pine nut soup, freshwater fish, seasonal mushrooms and herring caviar
Warm vegetable marrow salad with shellfish, lettuce cream and iodine juice
Roasted red mullet with crispy scales,saffron-infused rock fish broth, black olive bonbon
Roasted pigeon breast, wild wheat, Idiazabal cheese and cherries

Desserts
Lemon tea with ginger ice cream, fresh mint salad
Txacoli with strawberries, cold cream of citrus zest, blood orange granité

Last bites
Red fruit infusion, Financier, Melon and almond milk, Armagnac and cinnamon liqueur

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The meal was outstanding – the portions were not too small and the flavours and textures of each dish were superb. My favorites were – the bite-sized tomato bread filled with basil olive oil; the stewed sweetbreads and potato foam and the warm marrow salad with scallops; and the tender pigeon breast.

The opening cocktail party is tomorrow evening so I’m looking forward to sampling some more from the kitchen and visiting the restaurant again in a few weeks time to order a la carte from the menu. Finally, here is a restaurant worth going to for flawless cuisine in a picturesque setting. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and let me know what you think.

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