Friday 3 June 2011
Fuego Negro, San Sebastian
This morning I decided that it was time for a change of pace and some exercise was in order; a tiny act of penance for the volume of food that has been consumed over the past three days. I decided to walk along the beach and up and down Mount Igeldo as it is the highest of the three mountains and would afford the best views of the area.
Of course, having not eaten anything since finishing lunch at 6pm the day before, all this walking started to make me hungry and at 2pm I decided it was time to find some food. I headed into the Old Quarter to Fuego Negro, a modern pintxos bar that has been receiving strong reviews.
The interior of the bar is decorated in red and black and the lights are quite dim (at all times of the day). Of course, the busier a bar seems to be, the better the quality and this certainly held true here.
Unlike most bars, there was very little food set out the bar and the hot dishes were listed on the chalkboard behind to be ordered. There were also english and french menus available to assist the tourists. One of the few items on the bar (pictured right) was crisp bread topped with goats cheese, confit tomato, and jamon. Of course, I ordered one and it was simple but delicious. Goats cheese is a very expensive ingredient back home and I never turn down an opportunity to sample it whilst I can.
I next ordered a "lunch-kit" of salmon, apple, cheese and breadsticks. Although tasty, I found this to be incredibly over-priced for the portion size compared to everything else. The salmon was cured and served cold and there were a few cubes each of apple and cheese. Nothing innovative there at all.
Following the salmon was a tiny kobe beef burger served with onion, lettuce, mayonnaise and banana chips. The beef was so succulent and moist and the banana chips were an enjoyable and unexpected alternative to the standard potato crisp. A full-size version of the burger could easily fetch $25-$30 at a restaurant back home.
The final pintxos was ordered because two other couples around me had both ordered it and loved it. Simply described as "cheese, tongue and polenta", it seemed to be a signature pintxos here. The cheese was mild with the tongue falling apart on the fork. The polenta was at the bottom of the plate, soaking up all the juice from the meat and giving a pleasant textural contrast.