Chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive: cooking Basque flavor as an expression of his heritage
- Spanish 1 Star chef at Basque Kitchen until 2022
- Fat Duck, Mugaritz, serveral Michelin star experiences
- Basque Culinary Heritage cuisine
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Where ships entering the harbour of Singapore came for fresh water, now gastronomes flock to for a fresh new dining experience. Introducing Basque Kitchen — back after a brief hiatus — in its new home at the historic Fullerton Waterboat House.
The second home marks the beginning of a new chapter for Basque Kitchen. Established in October 2018 as Singapore’s first Basque-centric restaurant celebrating the country’s indigenous culture and produce, Basque Kitchen was awarded its first Michelin Star in the 2019 edition of Michelin Guide Singapore. In the new location, Chef-Patron Aitor Jeronimo Orive — alumni of the Michelin-starred kitchens of The Fat Duck in London, Mugaritz in San Sebastián and Neura in Bilbao — and his team continue to stay true to the produce-driven culinary philosophy that their customers love, executed with even greater finesse while remaining approachable. The Basque gastronomic experience is also more immersive, with a pintxos bar and lounge welcoming diners to unwind over a flute of cuvee champagne created especially for the restaurant, and to tease the tastebuds with the diverse range of light bites.
In the semi-open kitchen, a duo of handsome Josper grills, custom-designed for the restaurant, anchor the space, offering diners a glimpse of the deliciousness to come. Within the 38-seat main dining hall of the new Basque Kitchen, a private dining room that seats eight makes a perfect venue for small, discreet gatherings. Basque Kitchen will also host the exclusive members-only space for American Express Centurion and Platinum Card Members, called Platinum at Basque Kitchen. Comprising 18 seats at the dining hall and 18 seats at the pintxos bar, the dedicated space boasts the finest views of the Fullerton waterfront.
Centurion and Platinum Card Members will also enjoy priority reservations, and a suite of
complimentary experiences including valet service and welcome drinks.
Premier design agency Grey Matters, the same behind the likes of Cloudstreet, Tippling Club, and W Maldives, draws on the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air — also considered the four cornerstones of Basque cooking — to create a space that marries rusticism with modern sophistication. Think the juxtaposition of charcoal stained oak floorboards against plush velvet banquettes; the cool of gleaming embossed metal detailing balanced by the buttery softness of cream-hued leather; rippled glass creating a dance of light as water does; contoured lines all around, reminiscent of the coast of the Basque country, facing the Bay of Biscay. Dressed in a harmonious palette of charcoal greys, warm orange and oaky tones and given accents of gold and copper, it’s a space that is as invitingly comfortable as an old friend’s home as it is elegantly refined and fitting of special occasions.
The pinxtos bar and lounge that seats 33 persons sets the tone for enjoyment. From the a la carte menu comes exquisite offerings such as artisanal Sanfilippo anchovies — perfected over 125 years by five generations of a Cantabrian family and exclusively available in Singapore at Basque Kitchen — served simply with tomatoes atop crisp curasao flatbread; a classic dish of goose barnacle slivers served with tender nuggets of sous vide abalone, piparras olives, piquillo peppers; and a moreish wagyu burger with amera tomato, pickled cucumber, caramelised onions and epoisses cheese. Apart from the authentic light bites served on bar plates made by Catalan tableware design studio Luesma & Vega, patrons can also indulge in oysters served four ways, or caviar by the tin before moving on to the main meal.
Crafted using painstakingly sourced Basque produce, complimented by premium seasonal ingredients from Japan — such as deep sea fish, uni and scallops, the menus also showcase house-aged beef. In the aging fridge — two to three times bigger than before — prime cuts such as Australian and Japanese wagyu are meticulously dry-aged for a minimum of 45 days. Following the style in the Basque country, the team also sources for beef from mature livestock about eight years of age — that which presents intensely deep and complex flavours and textures.
Charcoal-grilled items anchor the tasting menus: such as Charcoal grilled blackspot bream and razor clam dressed in a typically Basque Donostiarra sauce made from the classic San Sebastián style pil pil; and a charcoal grilled old beef loin, its rich flavours amplified by a smoked garlic mousseline and a drizzle of truffle jus. Accompanying these are inspired items such as a jelly of tomato essence served with a tomato sorbet and Japanese fruit and micro tomatoes, and a sea anemone served with bomba rice and sea succulents, finished with a fragrant chive aioli — further demonstrating the breadth and depth of Chef Aitor’s evolved and elevated repertoire.
“Basque Kitchen by Aitor is a celebration of Basque heritage, but it is also a celebration of the hearts and minds of our team,” shares Chef Aitor. “Every dish is a loving tribute to my own grandmothers; and every bottle marks a personal moment in the wine journey of our sommeliers. We hope not just to intrigue you with an immersive gastronomic experience, but also touch your heart with every drop and morsel presented.”