Sargadi is the latest opening (2016) to join the growing Basque contingent in our City. So far, we have Eneko, Donostia, Lurra and Ametsa with Arzak Instruction in the Halkin hotel. These are all good things. I say this with a fondness gathered from some of my most happy memories eating in the Basque Country. The Sagardi Group came about 2 decades ago now in Barcelona, have outposts in Valencia, Madrid, Seville and Buenos Aires too. What’s on full display as you walk in, is a tiled butcher’s shop, with vaca carcasses (retired dairy cows) dry ageing, before they are expertly butchered on huge wooden blocks. Of course your piece is brought over to your table for a sagely nod of approval before its fired on oak coals. If theatrics is your thing then they nail it here. I’m no stranger to these Galacian cows, having first tried them in Kitchen Table, Kitty Fishers, then Lurra. They were imbued with genuinely fantastic flavour with a whip of wood, it’s no different here.
The interior is the very definition of Shoreditch – industrial chic.
Towards the back of the restaurant is a wall brimming with juice from the Basque.
Untrimmed Galcian rib.
Trimmed in all its glory.
Itsas Mendi Siete £38, was a brilliant wine. If you don’t want to know how much it is retail then stop reading now…… (£12).
On the house were the dinky little chipolata’s, probably deep fried until their edges became craggy.
“Roasted and hand peeled fresh red piquillo peppers” £16. I couldn’t argue that these were sweet and indulgent. But, what really gave me anxiety was how punishing the price was. At this cost, I’d avoid.
Iberian ham croquettes £9 were a killer crisp shelled snack filled with rue and tantalising acorn fed swine. I don’t need to tell you that £9 for four is keen.
Dark ceps, or foraged mushrooms are sautéed to release their natural umami and the luxury is added with a free range egg yolk. In the end it was a bitter sweet symphony – they give with one hand and nail you in the kidney’s with the other with £21 price tag.
“Txipirones en su tinta” was baby squid stuffed with pork and is slow simmered in its own ink. The result looks like the unspeakable, but don’t let appearances put you off as they are actually delightful to eat. Your knuckles will be rapped at £26 for the pleasure. Me moaning about the prices seems to be the running theme of this review.
“Txuleton vaca matu” costs £70 for the slab you see before you.
The result, once fired over wood has an astounding depth of flavour and a texture that balanced tension with tenderness. It’s beef worth knowing about.
Chocolate truffles to end to meal.
When did I go? Dec 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £100 per head with a bottle of wine.
The good: There is so much to love about Sagardi, especially the Galacian ex-milkers, it is simply some of the best beef you could ever bless your mouth with. The experience is tainted by the cost of dining here. If you really want to play, don’t bother with the other dishes, go straight for the beef and double up on it.
The bad: The price will make you nose bleed.
Would I go again? I don’t think my wallet could take it.
Address: Cordy House, 95 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3BS