Sagardi Basque Country Chefs
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A London branch for the Spanish steak specialists.
We’ve had the Argentinians. We’ve had the Americans. We’ve even had the Brits. Now there’s fresh meat in town: Sagardi, a steakhouse from the Basque region. Part of a respected Spanish group, this is its London flagship.
The large dining room has a hint of high-class dungeon about it: all heavy hanging chains, warm woods and gleaming cabinets of wine. (Sadly no whips, though.) Chefs bustle behind a glass screen. You can see the kitchen, just not hear it. Or, now I think of it, smell it.
Which – while it’s a novelty these days to come away from anywhere with a grill not smelling like a bonfire – is a damn shame. Because the food smells (and tastes) terrific. The signature ingredient is a Basque speciality: txuletón, beef cut from cows of at least six years old. The result is an immensely full-flavoured piece of meat. All it needs is proper cooking, which Sagardi does beautifully, over burning oak. Sure enough, our impeccably seasoned, cooked-on-the-bone txuletón vaca had that winning combo of intensely smoky outer and ruby-red, melt-in-the-mouth middle. But this joint is no one-trick pony. There were moreish pan-fried txistorra (crisp, cocktail-sized cured sausages) and a terrific salt-cod omelette: a pillowy, herb-flecked tortilla punctuated by mellow sautéed peppers and onions, plus enough fish chunks to give it texture and flavour without overwhelming the other ingredients.
There’s a tome of wine heavy enough to press flowers with, but sensing that we weren’t secret oligarchs, our waiter recommended a traditional ‘porron’ of Riojo (£16 for 500ml). A glass watering can (of sorts), the idea is that you ‘open wide’, hold it up high and pour the wine, in a constant stream, into your mouth. Fun, yes. Easy? Just don’t wear a white shirt is all I’m saying.
But – and it’s a big but – prices are painful. Even for somewhere pitched at the chest-beating alphas of the Square Mile, the bill is likely to trigger a ‘sharp intake of breath’ (you know, the one builders give you when you ask how much the tiling will be). So go on, find a friend with an expense account. Then do it some damage.
Our red meats are carefully selected from the mature, fattened setters & cows whilst at their peak in flavour (min 6 yrs old). This incredible tasting meat comes to life with its uniquely clean and distinctive flavours from the land, milk and grass all shining through.
95 Curtain Road, Shoreditch
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £150.|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun 11am-10pm.|
|New Private events:||
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