The new tapas menu by Ametsa at the Halkin Bar
The Halkin Hotel in Belgravia has become a real beacon in luxury London hotels. With its grand exterior, high-end neighbours and understated foyer, it is the natural place for restaurant Ametsa to call home. Known for its collaboration with the three Michelin-starred Arzak father-daughter duo, Ametsa is famous for its avant-garde Basque cuisine, and the restaurant has added this flair to the updated tapas menu at the bar.
The bar itself is very simply designed and is frequented by hotel guests and businessmen all in need of a restorative after-work drink and a quick snack – and this is where the tapas bar menu fits in perfectly. We placed our orders and, almost immediately, a bowl of olives arrived. Not just any bowl of olives, but a steaming (read: liquid nitrogen) bowl of green olives stuffed with Campari puree, a pleasantly contrasting bitter and salty experience. We then continued with Jamón Ibérico and Ham Croquettes, two classics on Spanish menus. The jamón had a beautiful texture and its distinct nuttiness shone through, while the croquettes were panéd and deep-fried so delicately that they melted in the mouth. Next we enjoyed the Fish and Chips, a tender piece of sea bass in light batter served with their tongue-in-cheek take on chips: dehydrated, wafer thin vegetables such as red pepper and beetroot. The Foie Totem with Mango Dressing was a stylish, fresh dish with a round of foie gras terrine accented with the mango dressing and accompanying croûtes.
The chef then added a few treats to our meal: Black Ink Squid, a play on a traditional Basque dish, was an all-squid ravioli drenched in a squid ink sauce – bold yet still delicate. The Prawn Skewer, Tomato ‘Mojo’ and Vinaigrette was a simple skewer of plump grilled prawns on top of a garlicky, fluffy piece of bread, all topped with a zesty salsa. The Spider Crab Donostiarra, a blend of earthy crab meat with spices, was unusual but had real depth of flavour, and the Spring Onion with Romesco was a lighter, playful chip and dip idea. The Scorpion Fish Cake was gloriously soft with mild flavours and the Cheese Selection was a perfect mix of English and Spanish cheeses with a wonderful, sticky quince preserve. The bar menu has no desserts but their petit fours plate of Lavender, Vanilla and Raspberry Macaroons, Moon Rocks (an Ametsa specialty where Cointreau is encased in fine chocolate) and Chocolate Truffles along with a house blended Sangria finished off the meal perfectly.
With a menu such as this, an extensive cocktail list and staff who are slick and welcoming, this update to the bar is sure to be a hit with the fabulous hordes around Belgravia. Be it for a quick bite before a show or a late snack after a day out in London, the Halkin Bar is the ideal spot to catch your breath and have an excellent plate of food.
The Halkin Bar tapas menu: 51/60
To book a table at the Halkin Bar, Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DJ, call 020 7333 1060 or visit here.