Imagined by Andoni Luis Aduriz who has often been referred as “the natural heir to the title of Spain’s most pioneering chef after Ferran Adrià”, Mugaritz, 20 minutes South of San Sebastián, celebrates its 20-year anniversary building on a new philosophy.
When dining in famous restaurants, we usually find ourselves relaxed, curious and excited in cleverly designed spaces, pampered with creative tastes and visual plates. We’ve experienced a string of emotions in dining rooms along the way, but never before mixed with a sense of play, discomfort and the revelation of overcoming a prejudgement.
We first visited Mugaritz 3 years ago. We still have a fresh tactile memory of eating a lamb tongue with our hands or the emotional challenge brought by the eucalyptus smoked loin of lamb with its cultivated wool. They don’t call it the “world’s most adventurous restaurant” for nothing. Andoni Luis Aduriz and his team will take the guest out of his comfort zone, awaken his senses and push his limits. At the end, leaving him wanting to come back for more or forever confused.
This year marks the restaurant’s 20-year anniversary. To celebrate the proper way, besides an insane “Mugaritz Freak” carnival meets food festival party, they decided to up the creativity game once again. After 2 decades of playing with textures, sounds, traditional imagery set as benchmark, reframing the way people perceive food and taste, Andoni Aduriz amazes the world with a new philosophy, rooted in genesis. Food and wine seen as the solid and the liquid part of the same concept.
Guillermo Cruz, head sommelier and restaurant manager of Mugaritz and one of Spain’s most prolific wine specialists (Won Best Sommelier in Spain 2014) is living “the dream”. Every wine lover's dream. He sits at the creative table along with the kitchen team right from the first day. The notion of “pairing” fades away. The wines are now the liquid channel of the same message, while the food is the solid half of the harmony. The glasses don’t “match” the plates, but they complete them. Like the strong duo of sea bream macerated with its interior paired with almost orange, skin contact wine. Both bringing at the table their own natural flavors enhanced with the help of time.
A different angle of the same idea goes behind the egg yolk cured in Quina wine, topped with chocolate and paired with a bottle of 1901 Quina. Back in those days the drink was available in pharmacies and bought to be mixed with yolks as remedy for minor health issues of children. Time has passed, beliefs and traditions have changed.
Some dishes have a strong message, some feel amazing in a way you never experienced, some are harder to process and for some a wine is just not enough. Think big, crazy labels. Progression of Château d'Yquem in a 5 decades cord, rosé from the last two of Viña Tondonia 's productions, so rare they call it “the Unicorn Wine”, Jerez from 1728, the oldest beverage that ever touched our palate, or a classic good old Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Mugaritz is an experience that goes beyond the simple act of enjoying food and wine. It’s a narrative. Your imagination, the flexibility of your mind and emotional limits will decide the way you perceive and recall the story. You either irremediably fall in love with the genius creativity and your own feelings in that specific dining room, or you continuously question every step of the journey. No matter on what page your conclusion might be, Mugaritz is definitely one experience to tick off any bucket list.