Culinary Inspirations from San Sebastian’s Restaurant Week – welcome to La Fabrica.
My first introduction to San Sebastian’s Restaurant Week nearly didn’t happen! Having only arrived in town that day, I had not yet figured out where I was going or even what I wanted. The owners of the Pension that I was staying at had recommended La Fabrica as an excellent dining choice for those who wanted to experience Basque cuisine. I unknowingly set off without a reservation and arrived to a packed restaurant. The waitress suggested I make a reservation for another day then disappeared without taking my name. Good fortune came my way in the form of another waiter. Perhaps it was the disappointed look on my face. Perhaps it was because I was dining solo and they figured I would be quick. Even though it was only 8:30, they had another booking for a group at 10 pm. I cheekily quipped “if your kitchen can do it, I can do it”!
In spite of how busy the restaurant was and the upcoming reservation, not once did the waiter make me feel rushed as I noshed my way through their offerings of an amuse bouche and 4 courses – all for 25€ (thank you Restaurant Week!) La Fabrica offers a cozy and relaxed atmosphere and is clearly a very popular restaurant in the region (Trip Advisor rates it as #9 of 355 restaurants.) If you are planning to dine here, I highly recommend you make a reservation. I thought I would be able to squeak in on the following Monday night and found myself without a table – thank goodness for the Pintxos Crawl: No reservations required.
Avocado and marinated salmon tartare with mustard emulsion
This photo just doesn’t do the dish justice. Try as I might, the creamy avocado base refused to be photographed! The cozy atmosphere of the restaurant provided me with photographic challenges as the other diners watched me try and move around my plate, playing with the angles and low lighting. The presentation was a work of art and the flavours danced in my mouth as the poignancy of the mustard emulsion, the creaminess of the avocado and the texture of the salmon tartare…it has to be tasted to be believed.
Farm Egg with confit duck and olive cream
The oven baked egg suited the atmosphere in the room – a cozy, comfort dish nestled on the richness of the duck confit. There is something to be said for local foods – the flavours in the yolk and the vibrant yellow is so different from eggs back at home. La Fabrica took the humble egg to new levels in this dish.
Fillet of Hake on sauteed vegetables and creamed sea urchins
I really wasn’t too sure about the creamed sea urchins. Certainly not something I would normally order – but to me, this was about the Basque culinary experience, and if that meant trying something out of my comfort zone, so be it! The hake was delicate, the flavours light. It sat atop a crunchy sauteed vegetable medley with the creamed sea urchin sauce. My nerves for trying the sauce were quickly pushed to the side – it was rich and creamy, literally lending a more robust taste of the sea to the delicate hake. The dish paired perfectly with the crisp acidity of the bottle of Monte Alina that was included in the price. Everything was amazing, and truth be told, I was sad when I was finished.
Deconstructed Tiramisu: crushed cocoa biscuit with mascarpone cream, coffee ice cream and marsala wine jelly
I found this to be an interesting interpretation on tiramisu. I remember deconstructing dishes and desserts having been trendy at one time. It wasn’t my favourite. For me, the flavours needed to be combined to give the balance between the creamy mascarpone and the crumbly crushed cocoa biscuits. The ice cream had a super strong coffee flavour – ideal for the coffee lover in you.
La Fabrica’s participation in San Sebastian’s Restaurant Week meant that this menu was set at 25€ plus 10% VAT, including the above four courses, bread and a bottle of wine. Restaurant week is meant to “reinforce San Sebastian’s position as a food tourism destination,” according to the creators of the event. I have to say…I think they are succeeding!
More restaurant reviews from San Sebastian’s Restaurant Week: