A few months ago our friends from South African and Spain shared how one of the influencing factors in their choice of where to move was a much-loved restaurant named “Txoko”. I have finally experienced it for myself, and I see what they mean! Bianca Du Plessis (see her blog here) and culinary extraordinaire Andrés (who has served his gastronomic masterpieces at places such as El Bulli) were unmistaken in recommending this delightful modern-traditional Basque restaurant.
Enrique Fleischmann, head chef, chats to me as he caters, grills fish over hot coals, and leads his team of professional and friendly staff. Txoko has a relaxing environment, where my favourite Ken Zazpi songs drift and enticing scents waft. The outdoor seating gives a view of the sea and, across the bay, the vineyards from which the refreshing txakoli comes to be poured from a height to sparkle into my glass.
5 delicious plates made their way to my table, to be photographed and then devoured. Tourists and locals alike smiled at my maneuvers to get the best shot of the gourmet, and many asked about the appetizing dishes. So I had better share with you also:
First off, Pastel de Kabratxo Frito con Mayonesa de Cebollino. A deliciously light fried fish with oniony mayonnaise, a smooth beginning to the meal. Next was octopus off the grill with glazed potatoes and a touch of browned garlic. A taste so fresh and well-balanced, my teeth sank into the soft meat. The balsamic tomato salad melted in my mouth with seasonal mild chillies and bonito tuna brought in to the very port Txoko overlooks.
The main was a juicy serving of bacalao cod fish, which prompted lofty thoughts of going to sea back in the days when the Basques sailed to the coast of Canada in search of the prized fish, at Txoko comboed nicely with Alava style potatoes. And to finish off the feast, a Caramelized Peach & Creme Pastry that tasted just as good as it looked.
Txoko is a modern, innovative restaurant that captures the beauty and richness of the traditional Basque cuisine adding unique and creative dishes that bring a diverse group of food lovers back time and time again.
Words & Photos by Jonathan McCallum