Revolution at Zarate’s
Is he seeking a second Michelin star?
Whether he aims for it or not, the helmsman of the concepts and cuisine of the Zarate on Calle Licenciado Poza in Bilbao, will more than likely obtain it. I want to bring part of the kitchen out into the dining room: we are going to interact with the guests, we are going to offer a closer experience”, explains the chef.
Sergio (Bilbao 1974) has been at the helm of Zarate for more than a decade, after another decade of success at Arropain in Lekeitio. In Bilbao he recently opened La Taberna de Zarate, offering traditional cuisine – don’t miss the callos (tripe) – which is a success. And, together with Beñat Ormaetxea (chef of the magnificent Jauregibarria in Amorebieta), who is also an excellent stew chef and friend, he runs Elkar, an exclusive restaurant in the Torre Emperador, in the heart of Castellana (Madrid).
“We cook together with our four hands in a luxury restaurant 160 metres above the ground: it’s thrilling. We are in charge of six dishes each out of the twelve on the tasting menu”, he explains.
This formula has worked so well in the Taberna de Zarate next to Azkuna Zentroa that they are already working on the Taberna de Elkar on the ground floor of the same Torre Emperador.
But meanwhile, Sergio is focused on the changes in his home nest in Bilbao. He will keep those large pieces of very fresh fish treated with the simplicity that the culinary tradition of Basque cuisine rules. “In addition, I want to propose a markedly gastronomic, innovative, powerful tasting menu. And we will bring a small part of these dishes to the menu”, reveals the chef.
He is looking forward to being able to converse with diners after the remodelling, which is due to be completed this spring. “I’ve always learned a lot from the people sitting at the table,” he says. And now he will be able to do so in real time.
He confesses that he does not focus on a certain type of target audience. “I love to see the enjoyment of a young couple who have saved up to discover what we do. Or when a group of older people come and ask for the most avant-garde dishes and enjoy them”, says Sergio Ortiz de Zarate, who is about to bake a book of his own.
Enjoy your meal.
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