Time to carry on the brunch series, which I began with a post about Ambigu Estación in the old part of San Sebastián. This series came about in the first place as a culmination of personal frustration ("It's noon on Sunday...WHY I NO HAVE BRUNCH?") and repeated questioning by inquiring minds. And in this edition, I reveal what is probably one of my favorite brunches. Why? Because they don't even know they have a brunch.
You see, Narru is much more about being a restaurant. The young chef Iñigo Peña emigrated from Gros to the Hotel Niza a few years back (in fact, I was dining in Gros on the last night of opening, alongside his beaming father and mother, excitement in the air). He has been noticed by global media as a chef to watch in San Sebastián, and he focuses on the downstairs restaurant's über fresh seasonal dishes. However, Narru serves as the hotel's bar as well, and this is where I stumbled upon one of San Sebastián's best hidden breakfast secrets.
Narru has brunch. If you ask them, they won't even know what you're talking about. But a perfect, haute brunch can be cobbled together with the elements of the bar menu—and, as with many things in Basque Country, it shines because it's Basques doing what they know. It starts with the beverages...vermouth, coffee, and the waiters are happy to mix cava with orange juice, though they won't perhaps understand what is going on.
Then move on to the food. Narru has the standard croissant and faux-brioche (order a la plancha, por favor), but they also have menu elements that are awfully brunchlike. Skip the tortilla española adorning the bar in favor of the deconstructed version: Huevos de caserío, patata y jamón carrasco (runny farm eggs, potatoes, and spanish cured ham, 11€).
Order a side of pan con tomate, but be prepared to be blown away. American toast, I love you and your hipster versions. Pa amb tomaquet, I love you too! What would Spain be without you? But this rendition at Narru is just perfection. Served on what Spaniards call 'crystal bread' for its thin, barely-there crispiness, it's fresh fresh tomato with the perfect crunch.
And finally, to satisfy those who brunch sweet-style, there's the torrija. It's like French toast made over by Dominique Ansel. Custard gets caramelized to form a crunchy top layer...it's sinful. But who am I to judge folks that need a little sweet on a Sunday?
That's Narru, perhaps my favorite brunch spot in Donosti.
More brunch spots coming soon....if you have any suggestions, throw them my way!
Hotel Niza, Zubieta Kalea, 56
20007 Donostia, Gipuzkoa
San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
+(34)943 423 349