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Restaurant Harakina (Bayonne)

© Séverine Santucci

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Take a trio of friends (Séverine Santucci, a first-rate chef who trained at the École Ferrandi, Paul Crespin, a former finance guy who switched careers to work in butchery and charcuterie, and Mathieu Lapios, a wine lover passionate about low-intervention producers); place them under the arches of the Vieux Bayonne neighborhood in a dive from the 1950s (black and white checkerboard tile floors, an ornate wood bar, a glass ceiling); and you’ll get Harakina (“butcher” in Basque), a porky bistro where the star of the show is the Kintoa pork from the Landaia farm. The resulting dishes are straightforward, cooked in tandem with the British chef Alex Mahood (ex-Jones in Paris), who is backing up Séverine in the kitchen for a time. What did ours look like, the day we went? A few crispy panko-covered croquettes stuffed with trout from the Pyrenees, béchamel sauce, lemon and dill, then some hearty Kintoa caillettes stuffed with a mix of ground pork, apricots and pistachios, flash-seared and then cooked in the oven, enrobed in a divine onion jus and served with Robuchon-style potato purée… But the deviled eggs, massive pork chop and chocolate cake with crème fraîche would get the job done right too! // Gérard Roubeix 

FEELING THIRSTY? : A dozen living wines (La Combe des Avaux, a Côtes-du-Rhône red at €5.50 a glass, Timéo, a Roussillon Grenache at €23.50 a bottle, Fins Als Kullons, a Catalan Clairet at €40 a litre…), along with lager on tap (€2.50 for 250 ml). 
PRICE: : Plates €4-28. 

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