Ametsa with instruction by Arzak, sees The Halkin hotel bring the world’s most accomplished father/daughter cooking duo to open one of the most interesting modern Spanish restaurants in London. If you can get past the slightly bland interior, save for the coloured test tubes hanging from the ceiling Ametsa is a restaurant that is worth a visit. Ametsa is the London spin-off of the highly successful Basque cooking of Elena and Juan Mari Arzak in their eponymous San Sebastian restaurant, Arzak. Arzak has been consistently voted in as one of the 10 best restaurants in the world (according to the annual San Pellegrino poll) and Elena has long been regarded as possibly the most accomplished female chef on the planet.
Their cooking sees the rich and visceral flavours of Basque country produce combined with contemporary culinary tricks into oxymoronic dishes of overwhelmingly complex simplicity. The food slightly lacks the finesse of their San Sebastian establishment, but maybe that’s because Juan Mari and Elena aren’t rooted in the kitchen and dashing around chatting up the diners, but don’t get us wrong it is still one of the better dining experiences in London. Ametsa’s service is wonderfully polished without being too intrusive and the carefully thought out wine list is worth a deeper look.