Porrue: the best product and an outstanding grill in a steakhouse to take into account in the center of Bilbao


There is no doubt that product restaurants are in fashion, but few establishments accredit their suppliers in their menu. This is the case of Porrue, a steakhouse that opened its doors in Bilbao in 2009, very close to the Guggenheim museum, and which can boast of having one of the most seductive selections of fresh produce in the city, which is no small saying.

Its chef, Unai Campo, is an expert barbecue, with a long curriculum in some of the best steakhouses in the Basque Country. And that shows in his fantastic handling of a product that is not available to everyone.

Our visit to the restaurant, on the occasion of the BBVA Bilbao Food Capital celebration, was quite a festival that, no matter how much you pay, is not easy to find. And when we talk about barnacles, elvers, kings or steaks, even Andoni Luis Aduriz, who was quietly eating at the next table, forgets about the avant-garde.

Barnacles roasted over oak charcoal.

Everything is better grilled

We started the meal with one of Porrue's star dishes, barnacles grilled over oak charcoal (€ 39). I've never tried this grilled crustacean, but unsurprisingly, it's a great idea. Although it is a somewhat complicated dish to eat - it costs to open the barnacles and they give off a lot of juice - the truth is that it was to die for.

Vegetables of the season.

We continue the meal with a plate of seasonal vegetables off the menu: artichokes, thistle and borage, accompanied by Iberian ham, sweet potato puree and a hazelnut praline. Also very good.

Fried egg with grilled shrimp.

A cook friend always says that if the egg were as rare as elvers it would be even more expensive, and I'm sure he is right. A good fried egg with a sprig is a delight, but if you accompany it with a grilled carabinero, with its fried legs, things get serious. "It's filthy," explains Campo, "but I love it." Nothing filthy, this dish, also off the menu, is an absolute marvel, for me the best of food. Next to it, the elvers that come next (price s / m, that is to say, very expensive, like everywhere else) are bland.

Elvers with garlic and chilli.

King of the seas

We are being full but, like a good Basque, Campo is a first class host, and there are two of the stars of the house left: the grilled king and the usual suspect in Basque steakhouses, the chop.

Campo brings the king of Asturias, two hours away by car, where they go to look for him whenever they can and he prepares it in the Orio style, with a rehash of oil, chilli and garlic.

Porrue's cook, Unai Campo.

The specimen –in the opening photo–, of 3.13 kilos (€ 76 kilo), is enough for eight people to eat. It goes without saying that it is an expensive fish, but it is worth trying it sometime: its meat, white and turgid - despite being a blue fish - has an intense flavor, tending to bitter, which may remind you of the good mullet from rock. An absolute delight.

Accompany the fish, as a garnish, an exquisite red cabbage, super well cooked, which gives a good account of Campo's hand, not only on the grill.

You are never full enough for a good chop.

After this festival, the chop (€ 59 kilo) seems even an unnecessary addition, but it was also noteworthy. Campo is not overly enthusiastic about prolonged maturations, and for this nine year old stallion he prefers a rest for no more than a month, more than enough to obtain a very tender meat with an intense flavor. Again, we have to mention the garnishes: perfect fries, accompanied by roasted garlic.

The garnish of the cutlet has our blessing.

Better skip the desserts

We finish the meal with a display of practically all the desserts on the menu, which seem to us, by far, the weakest in the restaurant. The cheesecake and flan are not convincing, and the display in the living room of the “Nitromus at -196 degrees Celsius” (€ 14) is pure firework with a result that is no more than mediocre. The best, in my opinion, the simplicity of a delicious curd.

The "nitromus" looks very good in the room, but it doesn't deliver what so much performance promises.

The puncture in the desserts does not detract, in any case, a fantastic meal, in a steakhouse very important in Bilbao, with a very high level that is only surpassed in temples of the product such as Etxebarri or Elkano who play in another league. A place to enjoy the beauty, despite a disco interior design that squeaks a lot and can confuse anyone who does not have references about the restaurant.

Tags:  Selection Recipes Desserts 

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