Thursday, 1 July 2010
San Sebastian’s pinxtos are fantastic, but after a few days those used to more a varied diet will start to get palate fatigue.
This is where A Fuego Negro becomes your saviour, by using traditional Basque ingredients but presenting them in unique combinations with pizzazz.
The kitchen only opens at 8pm, so don’t be caught out hovering around the bar too early with a grumbling stomach.
Each kosita costs around €3, higher than pintxos at most bars around the city, but certainly much more diverse that what’s offered elsewhere. In fact, ordering A Fuego Negro’s entire list of kositas might only set you back around €35 but would make a very satisfying degustation menu.
Of the kositas I tried, my two favourite dishes were the horse mackerel (txitxarro )and the ham and almond soup (café de jamón), both delicious and yet unexpected in terms of contents and flavours.
Spheres of shredded spider crab, avocado purée and a scoop of sweet liquorice ice cream, to be combined together in small mouthfuls.
Cubes of horse mackerel with chopped mint and crumbled oveja (semi-hard sheep cheese), on a base of sweet cherry meringue.
Simple risotto sprinkled with cinnamon and smoky paprika, topped with puffed rice, coriander and other herbs.
A medallion of hake sits in a bowl painted with pastel green garlic and parsley sauce, topped with a sprig of parsley and of crunchy, roasted almond slivers.
The “dirty salad” gets its name from the black sesame dressing smeared decoratively across the glass bowl. Inside, fresh lettuce and grilled vegetables are tossed in a little more dressing.
A soft, rare morsel of pigeon is served with cheeky artistry, presented at the end of the plate with a decorative spray of red sauce and an edible rice paper comic-strip “pum!” to emphasise the splatter. Some tiny mint leaves add colour and two shiny metallic cake decorations sit atop the pigeon meat. I’m sure this is in reference to something, but it’s over my head.
Delicious hot ham soup is enriched in flavour and texture by roasted almonds and topped with coffee foam. It’s served with small crumbed sweetbreads that you dip into the soup like a savoury breakfast treat.
A Fuego Negro
Calle de 31 De Agosto (Abuztuaren 31-KO Kalea, 31)
San Sebastian (Donostia)
+34 650 135 373
View San Sebastian, Spain in a larger map
Other Spanish posts:
Food from the Basque Country
Feasting in Galicia
Arzak, three Michelin star restaurant