After two weeks of being away, C flew back into town last week and took me out on a surprise date night! He didn’t say where we were going, just that we had dinner reservations at 9pm and to wear something nice!
Although C and I are really fortunate to have a lovely social life here in D.F. there is something still so exciting for me about Date Night! Maybe it is because C and I never really ‘dated’ so to speak. We went from a long distance relationship (C in D.C and me in Singapore), to living together straight away in Mexico. Not that I would change that for the world – but when we do go out for a special evening just the two of us – I think I enjoy it that much more!
So when C stopped us outside of the restaurant BIKO I was really excited– I had secretly hoped that this was where he was taking me! BIKO was ranked 31 in the 2011 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list sponsored by S. Pelligrino & Aqua Pana. As it is literally 4 blocks down the road from us, and it has been on our must try list since we moved here (along with Pujol which is also on that list but 4 blocks in the other direction!).
Biko is described as a Basque-Mexican hybrid, serving Techno-Emotional Food. I must admit that if I had actually read that description before I went it probably would have dampened my excitement slightly. In that sentence alone there are two things I dislike when it comes to restaurants: the idea of fusion and the pompous phrase “Techno-Emotional”. There is just no need!
Walking into the restaurant I was immediately taken with how simple and elegant the dining room was. It had a very airy, natural feel to it – with lots of light wood panelling, beige and deep chocolate tones and no unnecessary art cluttering up the walls. It’s the kind of place that the minute I walked in, I sucked in my tummy, straightened my back and wished that I had worn my pearls!
The Maitre d’ and the waiters were all very good, incredibly knowledgeable about the food that they were serving and their wines on their menu. They all seemed to be very much on the ball, and truly tried to anticipate your ever need before you even had to ask. The cocktails were well made and very generous – it took my quite a while for me to get through my dirty martini (which could have been slihglty dirtier if you asked me).
There were a few things that slightly irked me though before the meal started such as; One. the Maitre d’ was wearing an ‘ear piece’. I know its meant to be efficient and modern – but unless you are a body-guard, put it away. Two. In this very elegant and simple dining room was a great big plastic ‘no smoking sign’ on the wall! Three: the flower on our table was fake – if we are just about to spend hundreds of dollars in a restaurant, you would expect the very least to have fresh flowers! However like I said these are all small peeves of mine – rather than being a glaring fault of the restaurant
In the end C and I decided to try the Degustacion Menu, which was a 6 course tasting menu for about US$80. Now here is where I fail miserably as a food blogger because A) i didn’t take one single photo of the food. And B) I can’t remember the exact names of the dishes that we ate. But out of the six dishes, two really stood out for me as being exceptional – the cold crab salad, and a beautiful coriander encrusted roast quail, which I could have had an entire main dish of.
All the other dishes were quite interesting. There was a lot of unique pairing of flavours, such as duck seared in seaweed, served with little pearls of algae and anis, and obviously a lot of thought had gone into the presentation. But to be honest this type of food doesn’t really turn me on. It is all very enjoyable while you are eating it, but nothing really screamed out to me, or blew me away. What really fell flat and was quite a disappointment was the desert, a type of bread coated in a mellow chili powder served with luke warm honey water and a little bowl of ice cream. It really was quite uninspiring, and not how you want to end the tasting menu. I wish I had asked for another serving of that quail!
So what was the verdict of the evening? Well, C and I had an absolutely lovely time (in fact I think we were the only ones in the restaurant actually laughing!), we shared a beautiful bottle of wine, the waiters took great care of us and made sure everything ran flawlessly. All in all, it was a fantastic date night.
However, would we go back to BIKO? probably not. It’s one of those places you go for the experience and to try their unique take on food, but not somewhere I would want to return to again and again. Would I recommend BIKO to my friends? Yes, but with reservations. If you enjoy food, and consider yourself a bit of a foodie – than yes, go, I think you will have a great time and really enjoy the whole experience. However, if you are someone who really just enjoys good, down to earth cuisine – and not too keen on the techno-emotional side of food, I don’t necessarily think this place is for you.
Av. Masaryk 407 (cntre Calderon de la Barca y Lafontaine)
Col. Polanco, 11550 Mexico