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.

Astalena Beef Cheeks

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.

Astalena Revueltos Astalena Chipirones


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.

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