Sagardi opened earlier this year to rave reviews (not least ours) but not one to rest on their laurels, the clever team have launched a spectacular new menu championing the Ox.
For centuries, this prized ox was the greatest treasure to the people of the ancient Basque region, who would use the animal for heavy labour around the homestead.
When the ox grew old and ceased to be useful, it would remain there, inactive yet well fed, eventually being fattened up for communal celebration. Though every part of the animal would be used for cooking (a Basque tradition that still remains), the most superior cut, the loin, would be cooked on the grill and eaten at communal parties.
Fast forward to the heart of Shoreditch where Sagardi’s special Ox menu, priced at £90 a head, features 5 courses all celebrating seasonal Basque classics and should be taken by the whole table.
We started with the most exquisite bitesize chorizo sausages, so juicy and delicious they didn’t stick around long.
The next course was slightly more unusual though. We were presented with a comforting black bean soup alongside a chubby black pudding, wafer thin pork fat, cabbage and sweet chillies to garnish. You’re supposed to add the ‘garnishes’ to your soup to taste. The black pudding gave the soup a depth of flavour and was a great way of seasoning the dish, while the pork fat dissolves completely into the hot beans – a dish for true meat lovers.
As you’d expect, the Ox takes centre stage – the clean, earthy red meat is cooked simply (as is always the way at Sagardi) and seasoned to perfection with a little salt and oil. It’s a super impressive centrepiece, prepared in slices for ease of sharing. Don’t discard the thick rind of juicy fat along one side – it’s full of flavour. Simple sweet roasted red peppers were a fab accompaniment and let the meat shine. Exquisite.
Feeling suitably stuffed, we couldn’t quite believe the next course. A huge block of cheese (not just any cheese, you can only find this from the Aralar Mountain range – 1200 metres up!) is served with chunks of sourdough and a sweet chutney. If you weren’t full before, you will now need to be rolled home, have an Uber on standby. The classiest cheese board we’ve had the pleasure of eating.
The menu is served with our favourite (and very affordable) bottle of Argentinean Malbec – Uco Acero Malbec 2011.
Just before we leave we manage to pop a couple of chocolate truffles in our mouth – laced with apple brandy no less – and get into our awaiting Uber.
While £90 a head isn’t cheap by anyone’s standards, we do feel like this is a reasonable price for such special ingredients that you really won’t find anywhere else in London. The ultimate Christmas lunch perhaps?? Whatever excuse you come up with – don’t miss out!
Tolosaldea Menu at Sagardi London
Traditional pan-fried Orio “txistorra”
New Tolosa black beans with garnish
Roasted and hand-peeled fresh red piquillo peppers
“Buey” Galician matured beef
Cheese from the Aralar Mountain Range (1200 metres)
The Tolosaldea menu costs £90 per person and is recommended for 4 people and entire tables (2 people minimum). Customers can also reserve cuts of ox meat when booking into the restaurant during Ox week.
The menu will only be available from Monday 14th November to Sunday 11th December 2016.