Last Updated: January 2, 2019
Popularly known as the district lined up with endless dining establishments, Amoy Street recently welcomed a new kid on the block, Basque Kitchen by Aitor.
The latest addition by the folks at Unlisted Collection is helmed by Chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive, ex-chef at Hilton hotel’s one Michelin-starred restaurant, Iggy’s.
Here’s the catch – Basque Kitchen by Aitor plates up an unconventional array of Basque-inspired cuisine, using Northern Spanish ingredients to highlight its origins.
Fine dining was only ever something my imagination had control of. Think low-lighted space, hosting eloquent and refined individuals, with the clinking of wine glasses piercing through hearty conversations.
While that customary is essential in most restaurants, Basque Kitchen by Aitor takes it up a notch. It nestles you right at home with its cosy atmosphere. Greeted with a warm welcome, I was brought to the bar top table to begin this phenomenal meal.
The process of the course preparation unfolded before my eyes as I watched the team at Basque Kitchen march around like soldiers on a mission. With passion firing up in their eyes, it stirred up a wave of adoration in me towards this leagued team.
I was first served some appetisers to start my Five Course Set Lunch (S$68++). The Oyster with Tomato Water Jelly was served in a dainty pebble-like ceramic bowl. The oyster was all snug and tucked under the bed of glistening jelly like a diamond waiting to be unearthed.
The plump, succulent Canadian oyster worked strikingly well with the tomato water jelly, cushioning any excessive brininess from the fresh seafood. A bold move to start the course with, yet so delectable.
To get our appetites kicking, the Jamon Croquettes with Espelette Aioli pays homage to Chef Aitor’s origins, dressed in the colours of the Basque flag.
The crusty exterior packed hot chunks of jamon pieces baited with the rich potato filling, all stuffed in a tight-fitting package. The first bite struck the roof of my mouth with its heat, yet I relished in the satisfying burn and the comforting flavours.
The vibrancy of the espelette pepper aioli had me thinking it was lethally hot, yet the traditional Basque spice was creamy and added a striking touch to the dish.
Chef Aitor had elevated such a humble dish with the Basque concepts and I only wished I could bring a bag full of these home!
Alright, let’s get down to business — I was next served the Chorizo Brioche Bun. The house-made brioche bun had sandwiched thin slices of French Basque chorizo, together with native idiazabel cream cheese.
Now, don’t be deceived by its plain appeal. The sweetness of the dough balanced the naturally salty chorizo, which was a delightful flavour explosion.
Bridged by the luscious idiazabel cream cheese, this canape fit itself in perfectly like three jigsaw pieces.
Moving on to mains, I was served the Oxtail Bomba. Stacked right at the core of the ceramic dish stood a divine masterpiece. Braised for 12 hours at 84-degree Celsius, the oxtail was infused into the short grain rice and served with a confit quail egg yolk and chive aioli.
Initially, I thought it was rather odd that I had this indulgent plate served after the carb-centric appetisers but this modest dish proved me wrong.
The first spoonful had me digging for seconds without hesitation. Each grain of rice doused in the soulful oxtail braise beckoned to be devoured.
It was undoubtedly the highlight of the night. Furthermore, watching Chef Aitor and his team execute the dishes with utmost diligence and earnest souls, added an ingredient that could not be tasted – but felt.
Next up, I had the Black Grouper. Coated with a layer of batter, the wild-caught grouper was serve alongside sweet peas and Piquillo Espuma (a Basque red pepper puree). Landing itself as one of the best-known fishes to eat; its no show that Chef Aitor prides himself in plating up quality ingredients.
With a crusty exterior and flaky middle, the fish was complemented with the light and velvety crimson puree. While the dish was faultless in its components, it wasn’t much to scream about.
Lastly, the degustation ended with Chocolate. Yes, you read that right. The dessert is a play on different textures of chocolate: Guanaja 70 per cent chocolate ice cream, chocolate meringue, aerated chocolate sponges and cacao nibs. Yum.
The components may seem complex but this dish was the epitome of them all to showcase Chef Aitor’s character. Edgy on the outside like the crisp meringues yet humble on the inside with comforting decadence of ice cream.
Rich and homely all in one, I would kill for another bite of this devilish treat.
To Chef Aitor and his tenacious team, you’ve won my heart by showing me a part of yours in your food. Basque Kitchen by Aitor is definitely an unmissable place for an exquisite meal at its price.
Expected Damage: S$45 – S$115 per pax
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Basque Kitchen by Aitor
97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917
97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917