One thing that really upsets me is when the waitress is better dressed than me. This was the case at Ametsa when the polished pretty lady that met us at the entrance to the restaurant was wearing the most exquisite Armani dress. Hrrmph.

Arzak Instruction
Arzak Instruction

After a delightful morning tea of Chelsea Flowers Partridges blend at one of my favourite Chelsea venues, The Cadogan, I was joined by the charming Mr O and the delightful Ms S for lunch yesterday at the newly opened Basque restaurant ‘Ametsa with Arzak Instruction’ which has taken the place of the much loved Nahm in The Halkin Hotel.

We all chose the lunch tasting menu (Ms S had a few replacements being of vegetarian persuasion). The appetizers were served on architectural serving plates of varying heights and although the Puzzle de Queso y Cúrcuma (Cheese Puzzle with Tumeric)  seemed to disappear in one bite, the Arroz con ‘Arraitxikis’ (Rice with Fish Mousse)  left a lingering savoury smack of flavor.

None of us were sure of what to expect from ‘New Basque Cuisine’ but dishes such as Carrilleras a La Vainilla (Ox Cheeks with Vanilla) were certainly new experiences for our taste buds. I would have liked a little more explanation on the menu of my food as I found our waitresses heavy accent a little difficult to follow (many of the team have followed the Arzak family over from San Sebastian).

That said, wines were matched to dishes expertly and the service was attentive and friendly. The Posos de Cacao y Cidra (Butternut Squash Ice-cream) met with a mixed response from Ms S but was applauded by Mr O and the  Leche “Tostada” con Helado de Piña Asada (Clove Custard with Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream) was practically scraped off the bottom of the dish by all three of us.

Ab Rogers design team have produced an airy and relaxing space – the hanging spice tubes that cover the ceiling provide a major focal point in a restaurant that quietly explores a region the UK has little experience of in fine dining.

Review by Mrs Robinson


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