Basque in glory in the ‘floating’ bar at Eneko at One Aldwych

eneko bar

A ‘floating’ bar has opened as part of new restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych in London

Renowned chef Eneko Atxa has made his mark in Spain’s Basque region with his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, listed as 16th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He has now come to the UK, unveiling a restaurant and bar, Eneko at One Aldwych in London’s West End in a space that was previously Axis restaurant. To complement the restaurant’s fun and inventive modern interpretation of Basque cuisine, there is a “floating bar” specialising in Spanish wines.

Opened in partnership with One Aldwych hotel, Eneko has its own entrance, leading down to the two-storey underground space. A whole floor was removed, stripping it back to its steel frame columns, allowing design practice Casson Mann full rein to create a bright, welcoming interior, working with contractor WFC. The bar was added as a mezzanine, surrounded by a curved balustrade that allows you to look down on the diners below, plus “floating” staircases linking the different areas. “This design allows daylight to pour into the new bar and restaurant areas, creating a sense of spaciousness that transforms and modernises the venue,” explains Casson Mann director Roger Mann. Hidden wall lights are used to enhance the warmth and quality of the light throughout the day. The rich, sensory interiors were influenced by Basque materials and colours, from the use of wood, stone and steel through to the colours and textures, with elements sourced from craftspeople in the Basque region.

The sleek 35-cover bar is designed for pre-dinner drinks but also works as a stand-alone operation. The list is led by wines created by Eneko with his uncle Gorka at their Basque winery using local grape varieties, such as the crisp white Gorka Izagirre Txakoli. They are part of a carefully selected list of wines from across Spain, including cava, sherry and port, plus txanpaina – “champagne” in the Basque language.

Wine is used in a small range of aperitivos such as a Basque Cobbler and the Etxano 75 made with Gin Mare from Spain plus lemon juice and cava. Alongside Estrella Damm, it offers beers from Mateo & Bernabé in Spain: the dark Belgian-style Santiago 25 and blonde Bernabé 11. Pincho snacks – or “Pintxoak” – include an oyster, crab and wild prawn tartare, Basque cheeses, and the Txerri Boda Pork Festival – a medley of mushroom and iberico ham duxelle in milk bread, suckling pig brioche and pigs trotter bocata.

This pork extravaganza is also one of the starters on the menu in the 110-cover restaurant downstairs, alongside mains such as hake tempura with red pepper sauce and a parsley emulsion. The dessert list offers Eneko’s signature rice pudding lollipops with crisp white and dark chocolate hazelnut coating. “We aim to create an unpretentious take on rustic Basque cuisine, based on quality ingredients, simplicity and culinary heritage,” Eneko says.

Eneko at One Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
Tel: 020 7300 0300

Eneko at One Aldwych

Behind the scenes
Interior design: Casson Mann
Main contractor: WFC
Banquette seating: Noble Russell Furniture

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