Saiti, the cuisine with a good background by Vicente Patiño
Vicente Patiño is a cook with a long career. But, with 24 years of work behind him and several restaurants with Michelin stars on his resume, he has only run his own restaurant: Saiti, in Valencia for five years.
"Saiti", which is the Iberian word to refer to Xátiva, is a restaurant with fully Valencian roots, although looking for a point of modernity. On the menu, which changes every season, we always find local produce, be it the lagoon duck or the eel, very recognizable flavors of Levantine gastronomy. But this is, perhaps, the only point of union. Well, Patiño loves to complicate life.
Crispy corn taco with onion, blood and smoked chipotle chili
"If you come here again you will not try the same menu", explains Patiño to Direct to the Palate, after our visit to the restaurant for the Valencia Culinary Festival. “I have a notepad, I write down ideas, we capture it with the team and we start testing. We are taking dishes out of the menus so that people can give us their opinion, until we take out the dish ”. This means that each season there are 10 or 12 new dishes.
In the tasting menu that we had the opportunity to try –the VP option, composed of snacks, five starters, fish, meat and dessert, with a price of 48.50 euros–, there were dishes for all tastes, with somewhat irregular results (that's what you have to risk) but, on the whole, remarkable.
Tuna belly tartar with aguachili.
From Valencia to the world
To open our mouths, we tried a escalivada bonbon, a cod brandade fritter and a crispy salted deer. We followed a with a small crispy corn taco with onion, blood and smoked chipotle chili. Very rich.
We continue with two good dishes, but perhaps little defined (especially in the presentation) such as salted carpaccio de viera, with a bacon foam that imitated a hollandaise sauce, and a tuna belly tartare with cucumber aguachili, cilantro, yuzu and jalapeño.
Zucchini marrow, salicornia and seaweed.
I less liked the false marrow of zucchini, salicornia and seaweed, a curious dish, like a trompe l'oeil, but which lacked hook. Not so with the crustacean cream that accompanies the invention. And it is that in Saiti things are getting serious with the most forceful stews, where you can see the good hand that Patiño has with the funds, the most notable characteristic of his kitchen.
Fricandó of veal tendon with carob.
"From Denia we have worked hard on the funds, in a very respectful way," explains the cook. “It is the connecting link on the plate. The background has to be unctuous, perfect, to add flavor to the dish. It's our DNA since I started ”.
Does not lie. We continue with an oyster with cabbage leaf, a slightly confusing dish, but with a sweet wine sauce that is to die for. But the dish that we liked the most was the veal tendon fricandó with carob, which has little to do with an authentic fricandó, but it was to die for, with a very powerful umami flavor.
Sea bass with garlic chard.
The fish dishes are also very good, a sea bass with garlic chard, where the vegetables stand out over the fish, a truly remarkable achievement; and for meat, a green duck royal with eel, also very good.
Royal green duck with eel.
Rich desserts, want to repeat
In a meal that has gone from less to more (worse would be the opposite), we finished with a dessert that found defenders and detractors in the group of journalists who attended the dinner, but it seemed very remarkable to me: a lemon meringue with celery and tangerine.
Apart from the fact that the meringue was a book, the idea of adding slush celery gave it a refreshing touch and took away sweetness to the dish. Perhaps the taste of celery can be very aggressive in a dessert, but it convinced me.
Patiño assures that his idea is to give desserts the same relevance as the rest of the food: “For me it is the most important thing. The sweet part says a lot about a cook, because not all cooks know how to make desserts well. It requires more techniques, more accuracy ”.
Lemon meringue with celery and tangerine.
We leave with a good taste of Saiti - a sensation enhanced by the selected champagnes that have been served at lunch, as part of a special festival program - and with the feeling that we will continue to hear about Patiño. He is clear about his next goal: to get the coveted Michelin star.
"We all love him, whoever tells you he doesn't love her lies like a scoundrel," concludes Patiño. "Nobody becomes bitter by a candy. It is one of the important things that we would achieve in the race, and it is good for the business ”.
What to order: the small tasting menu is more than enough and is very competitively priced, but some of the most outstanding dishes, such as tendon fricandó, sea bass or duck royal, can also be ordered from the menu.
Where: 4, Carrer de la Reina Na Germana (Valencia)
Average price: Around 60/70 euros, with wine, if the short menu is chosen.
Reservations: 960 05 41 24 and on its website.
Hours: Closed on Sunday and Monday evenings
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