Restaurant review: Sagardi, Shoreditch
More Basque restaurant openings are putting the region's cuisine firmly on the map – and now the first London outpost of Spanish restaurant group Sagardi has arrived to demystify it
What's the draw
Txuletón, zapiain, buey and txakoli – while a handful of excellent Basque restaurants have opened in the last couple of years, the autonomous Spanish region's acclaimed food culture can be hard to pin down. Sagardi, from a big, comfy room on Curtain Road, manages to cover pretty much all the bases without painting in overly broad strokes.
What to drink
We started off as we would in San Sebastian – with a tangy, cloudy Basque cider, poured from a great height into the glass. There's a classic gin-and-tonic menu, too, as well as a superb range of Basque wines. We loved a Talai Berri txakoli – the classic Basque white wine style, with a hint of fizz not dissimilar to a Portuguese vinho verde – and a luscious rosé garnacha from Pagos de Araiz in Navarra.
What to eat
Most of the Basque classics are present on the menu. If you're here for aged beef, the txuletón is a must. It's served at a 400g minimum, though, so the buey (a similar cut from an ox) is a good option if you're there as a two and you want to save room. The fish of the day, in our case turbot, simply grilled with olive oil, was beautiful in its texture and simplicity; and we enjoyed an unlikely star of the show, too – Tolosa black beans, slower-than-slow-cooked in water with just a pinch of salt. Earthy, rich and flavourful.
Sharing plates from £5; wine from £20 by the bottle. 95 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BS; sagardi.co.uk