Is he a chef? A boss? An octopus ? With his finger in many pies, chef Luke Dolphin (ex-L’Antre in Bidart) wears every apron, including that of forager, dish washer and baker at this teeny-tiny joint complete with twelve seats, spread over two floors. Packed in like sardines and packed with emotion, the Aussie cooks up the crème de la crème of the region’s bounty, like dayboat fish, meat from the Belaun cooperative in Aldudes, and organic vegetables from the Xotildeia farm in Armendarits. The day’s €25 lunch menu featured: a dapper Mendigorria tomato intoxicated with homemade red wine vinegar, tasty curds, chives and toasted bread crumbs; jubilant veal shank cooked at low temperature, with baked potatoes and zucchini doused in the meat’s juices, plus chimichurri sauce; and a succulent Gers nectarine marinated in elderberry syrup (also homemade), accompanied by honey gelato – courtesy of nectar from the Gauella honeybee farm in Briscous. Otherwise, opt for the menu that goes totally freestyle, varying from one table to another. For example: cured albacore belly, red mullet liver and caramelized onions; black seabream crudo with ponzu; browned butter French toast and chocolate ice cream… // Gérard Roubeix
FEELING THIRSTY? The boss also acts as the sommelier (without a menu), suggesting clean wines by the glass: Clandestinus, a Navarre red from Imanol Garay (€5), or a txakoli from Jon Goenaga (€7)… Otherwise, a bottle Els Bassotets, a macabeu chenin blend from Joan Ramon Escoda (€30) or lager from Etxeko Bob’s Beer (€6 for 330 ml).
PRICE: Menus €25 (lunch only) and €60.
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