Street XO Mayfair
15 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair , W1S 2JR
3 Michelin Star Chef Dabiz Muñoz is working with Tio Pepe to create a special 3-course menu that will run from 3rd-17th May to celebrate Spain’s world-famous Feria de Jerez (sherry festival) and I have been asked to review. I’m really excited about this as I’m a huge sherry fan and have wanted to eat Muñoz’s food for a long time.Munoz is Chef Patron of StreetXO London, StreetXO Madrid and DiverXO, Madrid’s only three Michelin-starred restaurant. Moving from Madrid to London in 2002 he learnt the fundamentals of Asian cuisine working at Hakkasan, Nahm and Nobu, returning to Madrid to open his first restaurant, DiverXO. StreetXO London has been open for a year and a half has a playful sexy rock’n roll vibe and is a great place to hang for a drink, snacks or an exciting dive into cutting edge gastronomy.Munoz and his team have created a special Cocktails de Feria de Jerez menu with sherry based cocktails and a “Liquid cuisine signature flight with Gonzalez Byass” which is “a selection of creative dishes beautifully combining Spanish and Asian flavours, each paired with a sherry from the Gonzalez Byass range.”Excited by this prospect we opened proceedings with a couple of cocktails. The Tokyo – Jerez (£14) with Palo Cortado was infused with a shiso Lapsang Souchong soda which gave it a real smokiness. It came with a caramelised shrimp. My instructions were to ‘suck the shrimp head’ (something I normally do for that über shrimpy hit) and then to ‘stir the cocktail with the caramelised shrimp body’! I love this integration of food and drink and it created an amazing sherry/Asian fusion. Our other cocktail was A Scottish Man in Jerez (£15) – blend of Scotch, orgeat and lime with an amontillado float and hazelnut oil – it was gentle and nutty.And then we were on to the Liquid Cuisine sherry flight from the Food & Gonzalez Byass sherry pairing menu (£28).A glass of last year’s Tio Pepe Fino En Rama (En Rama is raw, unfixed and unfiltered sherry straight from the barrel) had a lovely texture. It was matched with a dish named Irish Oyster on Holiday to Acapulco! I loved the saline creaminess of the oyster which was cooked on the robata grill and served with surprisingly mild jalapeño gazpacho.
The next pairing was Viña AB Amontillado with Hamachi Usuzukuri. The nutty Amontillado was a great match for the Hamachi carpaccio, served with a purple potato tempura and a slick of miso shot through with citric yuzu.
The final element of the trio was a delicious PX based Gonzalez Byas Solera 1847 Cream served with two creamy Kimchi croquettas “La Pedroche”. The first was topped with salmon sashimi, trout eggs and Lapsang Souchong, and the second with an oyster mushroom and tomato relish. At £28 for three very sophisticated bites matched with some great sherries this was pretty good value.At that point in the evening Head chef Lorenzo came and introduced himself suggesting that we should move into the main restaurant and try some dishes. It would have been churlish to refuse…Sherry is the gift that keeps on giving in my opinion and it was great fun to explore the flavour relationships between the dishes and these wonderfully varied wines. The new release Tio Pepe en Rama was much drier and saltier than the previous year’s iteration with a terrific minerality. We matched it with a sublime dish of hot smoked hand-dived Scottish Scallops (£16) with a creamy citrus ponzu coconut-kaffir lime reduction. Vine root had been used to fire up the robata grill giving the scallops an intense smokiness which was a real feature of the flavour profile of Muñoz’s cooking.A 12 year old elegant GB Leonor Palo Cortado came with the most amazing dish of the evening; called Octopus a la Gallega who spoke Mayan – tender tentacles of octopus were served with an emulsion of tamarilli, papas arrugadas, a yuzu aioli and mole creating a wonderful patchwork of flavour.I also loved the fillet of lemon sole in a Thai meunière sauce, flavoured with pink pepper and accompanied by charcoal grilled baby corn. The smooth, caramel notes of our Apostoles 30 year old Palo Cortado (a fino aged like an oloroso) was a luxurious match for the fish.Our final savoury dish continued the travel theme being entitled ‘A Scottish Cow visits Bankok’. Bringing together baked avocado with slow-cooked beef cheek, peas popping with freshness, broccoli, lemongrass and Kaffir lime in a green curry, it was a luscious Asian treat – and the complex flavours of Gonzalez Byass Alfonso Oloroso stood up to the spice perfectly.After this feast it was necessary to have some dessert. I wasn’t keen but Fiona insisted…Cheesecake with vanilla foam was a masterpiece of deconstruction.Whilst 7 textures of chocolate was a sultry exercise in texture and mouthfeel.A couple of cocktails finished us and the evening off perfectly. A rather grown-up Quillo The Manhattan was a blend of brandy, oloroso vermouth and orange bitters…my kind of drink…and the Ole Alexander was a sweeter option with brandy cream, orange blossom, PX, Apostles and nutmeg giving it a rich festive air.StreetXO London is well worth the trip to Mayfair. It’s great to have that transgressive Spanish vibe in a London setting and both the food and drink offers are really top notch and like nothing else in town. And if you are not a sherry drinker you really should be. With a diversity of flavours, its flexibility in food matching and for its unmatched quality at an affordable price point, it takes you on a hugely pleasurable journey through the taste palaces of Andalusia.