Brunch gets a sophisticated makeover at Eneko Atxa, the 3 Michelin Basque star who’s transformed One Aldwych’s restaurant. It’s a place to make a grand entrance too with sweeping copper staircases leading down to dramatic red leather banquette booths.
For brunch, think tacos, Basque style with corn talos including the freshest of anchovy, tomato and pecorino “pizza” with real depth of flavour, milk buns with slow braised pork shoulder so tender it dissolves in the mouth and scrambled egg, jamon and potato, like an especially melting tortilla. Filigree-light fried egg on talos with wild asparagus were unexpectedly elegant and thoroughly upstaged by ambrosial mashed potato.
A little copper pan of hake, clam and mussel stew has real marine intensity. Star dish is an exquisitely presented crisp corn talo with heritage tomatoes that taste of sunshine even in February and a scattering of flowers.
Being greedily hungry, we had a plate of 16 year aged txuleton, dairy beef, agreeably pink, though the fat needed more charring to reveal its true unctuousness. Subtly salty-sweet caramel mousse with sheep’s milk ice-cream is an exercise in understatement on the plate and makes for a sophisticated dessert. We stuck with the Basque Country and wines from Gorka Izagirre, the vineyard the chef runs with his uncle in the Vizcaya region around Bilbao.
In true Spanish style, we were still lingering over brunch at 5pm when pre-theatre guests started to arrive. A brunch of delicious conviviality and happy, proud, laid-back service.