Bar Astelena: Succulent Carilleras
Beef cheek is a popular hot pintxo that can be found simmering in many a basque restaurant kitchen. Although this is originally a very tough part of the cow, after a loving slow cook, this meat becomes extremely tender. I don’t like going on too much about the sensations, memories, emotions….etc that the taste produces – all I can say is that it’s not something you eat everyday as the tastes are overwhelmingly rich. The juices run think like a gravy and the tendons pull apart extremely easily. It’s a very succulent meat and Astelena know how to serve up the best carilleras in the old town. Sprinkled with sesame seeds, the pineapple ring gave this pintxo a wonderful sweet and sour taste.
The two other Astelena favourites are the Chipirones, which came with a delicious sweet sauce and a prawn cracker, and Revueltos con Hongos (scrambled eggs with mushrooms). I find the latter a bit too bitter, as the chefs make an egg white scramble, as opposed to a more tasty yolky one.
If you sit on the stools that face the kitchen, you may be given free food from the chefs! Having borne witness to this, I noticed that when the chefs make an order mistake, the extra portion or unwanted dish is given to the customers closest to them. So go on a busy saturday night and try your luck.