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Image 1: This was another intense journey! Overnight flight to Mexico City, dropped off luggage at the hotel with a quick nap, then directly to the Zevtro Plaza in Polanco. Directly across from Gucci was where we found the restaurant.
Image 2: The first thing we saw once we entered was a long résumé of Bruno and Mikel! A mysterious area where we were surrounded by tall walls of blackboard with sketches and ingredients of their signature creations. One floor above this lift waiting area was the restaurant.
Image 3: From my research, Bruno and Mikel trained at Arzak which explained why most reviews labelled Biko as French, Basque, or Mexican cuisine. I really had no expectation for this meal as not only am I still not a big fan of Arzak, I was quite sure that we can find better French or Basque cuisine in Europe. But still, I had to make a visit to confirm my intuition.
Image 4: We had trouble making a reservation, not because they were fully booked (in fact, there were a few empty tables during our Friday lunch), but because they had no English speaking staff picking up the phone and they did not reply to any of my emails!
Image 5: www.biko.com.mx Chef: Mikel Alonso & Bruno Oteiza
Tasting (7-course): MXN 935 (about €55) À la carte menu: Main about MXN 350 (€20)
Open from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Image 6: Once the lift door opened, we could see the dining room at the end of the hallway, dominated by wooden panels and floor-to-ceiling windows. Clever planning with tall trees in front of the plaza to block the unpleasant street view, allowing guests to escape from the city's busy traffic. The dining room didn't have much décor, and it probably didn't need it as the natural light itself created a very pleasant ambience.
Image 7: They had no English menu but I could see a Classic and an Innovative à la carte sections, followed by the Tasting Menu. We were glad that there was a fluent English speaking manager who came to explain the menu in detail and to take our order. They were very flexible with the menu. We didn't have to both order the tasting menu and we could substitute any course in the tasting menu had we desired to do so.
Image 8: We both took the tasting menu in the end, starting with a little surprise of fried fish with fish consommé. The fish was a bit bland but the soup had a lot of flavours including a touch of chili.
There wasn't much choice for bread.
Image 10: The service here was quick. Immediately after the amuse bouche, our first course, crab between skins, arrived. A very vivid plate with crab meat hiding behind an ultra-thin tomato skin, finished with a drizzle of avocado sauce. A rather powerful first course but delicious, very delicious!
Image 11: Instead of the usual moist and delicate crab meat, it was fried, providing a dry and rather firm texture to the crab meat; along with aromatic spices and a bit of avocado sauce, I would give it a perfect score for both taste and texture! A really good start to our meal! What was interesting was that the tomato skin with crab meat reminded me of eating soft-shell crab!
Image 12: Next up was quail in green. A deep fried quail that was cleverly breaded with couscous to give an extra layer of crunchiness! The flavour from the mixture of herbs and spices was really tasty!
Image 13: The exotic flavour from the green salad underneath was very addictive. Chickpea mousse was served like a dipping for the quail had a nice hint of lime juice. The whole combination worked very well!
Image 14: The tiny black airy and crunchy fried things were actually fried quail feet bones! Creative ingredient!
Image 15: Since the price here seemed quite affordable, we ordered an extra course of foie gras 100% cotton candy. I loved this transparent serviceware. The dish was blurred by a cloud of candy floss on top. Our server then poured in pineapple juice, creating a series of sparkling noise coming out from the bottom. They actually incorporated sparkling candy as one of the ingredients.
Image 16: The foie gras mousse was coated with some tiny crunchy seeds and paired with wedges of pineapple! My initial thought was pineapple would be too acidic for foie gras, but clever enough, the pineapple was dehydrated reducing the acidic juice but leaving the exotic fruit flavour behind. Brilliant stuff!
Image 17: The foie wasn't the best quality, but you still got the rich element from the foie, the fruity element from dried pineapple, and finally the feather light candy floss as the sweet element. What a unique and genius combo! And most importantly, the whole dish was in perfect harmony! Moreover, the tongue tingling sensation from the sparkling candy made it a very fun course!
Image 18: Even a simple soup course here was great - onion & cheese! A bowl with cubes of Cotija, a local cow cheese, and crouton balls…
Image 19: … and our server poured in a hot onion soup. The cheese melted and became sticky while the croutons were still hard and crunchy. I liked the textural play here! Despite the soup having a layer of grease, it was a very enjoyable dish.
What a cool combination - fish & tea!
Image 21: A thick portion of sea bass covered in chorizo sauce. The fish by itself was a bit bland but the slightly spicy meat sauce was excellent.
Image 22: The interesting part was the Japanese touch - dark green balls of wakame liquid on powder of green tea! I was surprised to see such an innovative dish!
Image 23: A beautiful work of art for our main course, duck & soy. This tree on the plate was meticulously painted using a mixture of spices!
Image 24: Amazingly, it wasn't the sauce that provided soy sauce flavour, but it was this thin paper leaning against the duck giving the deep flavour!
Image 25: It sounded like a Chinese influenced dish and it did taste a bit like Chinese roast duck, especially with the tamarind sauce resembling plum sauce.
Image 26: The pair of mini medallions of duck was soft and moist; the soy sauce paper was light with a deep savoury flavour; and the tamarind sauce had a precise balance of sweetness and acidity. Both texture and flavour of this combination were wonderful. A very successful dish!
Image 27: The dessert was served in a jumbo glass bowl accompanied by horchata ice cream. The manager came out and tried his best to explain the ingredients considering that I asked too many questions to his non-English speaking staff.
Juice of sapodilla, a Mexican fruit.
Completely dusted with hibiscus was a sponge cake.
Image 30: This dessert had an unusual mix of textures! The cake was airy in the centre, but became soft after being soaked in the chilled juice, and sticky with the hibiscus powder, along with the crunchiness from the mixed nuts underneath! I didn’t know what sapodilla looks like or what sapodilla should taste like, all I knew was I never had such a delicious fruity cake dessert before!
Image 31: Not that I expected to see a Robuchon petits-fours trolley in such an affordable restaurant, but it could have had more variety. A simple jar with a pair of warm churros sticking out, raspberry marshmallow and dark chocolate truffle. I guess you don't need quantity when you have the quality as this was an amazing churros, crunchy on the outside and very airy inside. A great finish to this lovely lunch.
Image 32: It's always fun to experience a global influenced menu with authentic regional ingredients. Before we left, we expressed our positive feedback to the manager while he was showing us Casa Biko, a room attached to the dining room. It is a different concept of eating for a private party.
It has a sofa area with a large screen and surround sound system, a spacious dining area…
Image 34: ... and an open kitchen where the diners can cook themselves or get a chef from Biko's kitchen to cook for them. Quite a unique concept!
Image 35: Granted, I went to Biko without any expectation, and I enjoyed both the texture and the cohesive flavours of every single course of the tasting menu! Given it wasn't an expensive menu, I would not hesitate to come back again. I wouldn't call it Basque nor Mexican; some described it as "Techno-emotional + local ingredients", which I didn't quite get either. Maybe they should simply call this the cuisine of Bruno and Mikel!