When you decide to set up shop with your pots and pans in tow at Anthony Orjollet’s former lair, the illustrious Elements (winner of Le Fooding’s Best Restaurant of 2018 award), you better be sure of yourself… But none of that scared chefs Alexandre Willaume and Bryan Claire, both of whom used to work at Le Grand Hôtel in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, who quickly put regulars at ease. Far from being crazy, the two friends cook in the wake of the meteor that was their predecessor, preparing organic, locally-sourced, plant-forward and sustainable neo-bistrology. Tasted the other night, in a dining room decorated with different shades of light wood: an excellent bluefin tuna crudo from Oiartzun, drizzled in Arroniz olive oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel and dukkah spices, paired with a lovely soy bean salad dressed in lime juice and a Thai vinaigrette; a combination of Grand Roux corn polenta, a runny egg and braised baby zucchini; whole-grilled mackerel paired with streaky bacon, fennel and chilies; before an impressive citrus mixture (raw and dried fruit) and strawberries from the Etchelecu farm, with candied kumquats, meringue and buckwheat crumble. And if you’re in the mood for tapas, the duo has you covered: Noir de Bigorre bacon and chorizo, palourde clams and tuna belly, etc. // Gérard Roubeix
FEELING THIRSTY? : French and Iberian low-intervention wines: Hegoxuri, an Irouléguy white from the Domaine Arretxea (€13 a glass), a Gers Colombard from the Domaine de Mirail (€25 a bottle), Camino de Santa Zita, a Navarre Greanche from Aseginolaza & Leundra (€70)… Otherwise, there’s Bobs’ Beer lager (€6 for 330 ml) or artisanal Bordatto hard cider (€19 for 750 ml).
PRICE: : Mains €11-18, tapas €8-14, desserts €9.
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