On our first trip to San Sebastian, we found the most modern pintxos in the entire city – by complete accident. An unassuming hole-in-the-wall type of place called Sirimiri is home to some of the best food you will ever find here in Donostia.
We first headed into Sirimiri after walking around the streets for ages looking for a bar we had heard good things about but couldn’t find, the name now escapes me. Tired and hungry we walked in, no doubt enticed by the tempting snacks piled up on the bar.
Here, forget about all that. It’s all about the hot pintxos displayed on the chalk boards up on the wall. ‘Pulpo’ is likely to get the nod at any given bar as far as i’m concerned – here the ‘pulpo’ or ‘octopus’ is served with coriander, mojo verde and (bizarrely) raspberries. Stay with me on this…
The last time we had this pintxo the flavours sent me to heaven and back. This time around it was no different. Exquisite presentation, the kind you would find in high end tapas bars in London, along with sensational flavours.
The raspberries come in sauce form, a kind of lean towards a chinese plum sauce but with just the right balance of sweetness and acidity. Samphire and mint also give a fresh hit along with a rich aioli. For such a small dish, this packs insane flavour. It’s probably my favourite plate of food ever.
To go with that, we went for a ‘secreto iberico’ which is a steak taken from the shoulder of an Iberico pig. So called ‘secreto’ because it’s such a prized piece of the pig that many keep it for themselves. After tasting this with pineapple and a paprika and tomato sauce. I can see why. The meat just melts in the mouth.
Cocktails are also expertly made here at Sirimiri and for a fair price. Beer is always a welcome partner to tapas as is the local Txakoli wine – excellent with seafood. Speaking of which, our next two pintxos were scallops with shaved pork jowl and cucumber spaghetti along with squid croquetas.
The scallop looked beautiful sat in a bowl covered in a golden sauce with threads of chilli. The croquetas were tiny but appetising in appearance. Digging into the scallop was like cutting through butter, perfectly cooked and so fresh. The sauce kind of had an oriental feel to it but with the addition of mustard, it was so so good.
The croquetas had been mixed with the ink of the squid to create a black colour throughout. The flavour, as with the previous dishes, was superb. A clean taste of the sea with slight bitter notes from the ink. Fantastic yet again.
Sirimiri is a bit of a tardis inside. Don’t let the couple of tables outside and then the four tables inside fool you. Extra seating is available at the pass area of the kitchen, at which you can watch the chefs preparing the plates, or further back in a raised area like a mini dining room.
This has to be our absolute favourite bar in the whole of San Sebastian – and it’s not even the busiest or most talked about. The food is next level, we would travel all the way back just for the octopus. The price of all this? An octopus pintxo will set you back €4.50 with the most expensive item, the scallops, in at €5. Now if that isn’t value I don’t know what is.
Calle Mayor, 18, San Sebastian
Opening Times: Daily 1200-0100