There's something magical in this house of the Frères Ibarboure - Table & Hostellerie. Imagine it! First of all, we need to get lost in the Basque countryside starting from Bidart. Take winding, narrow roads, venture down the Ttalienea path before discovering this delicious house, nestling in the greenery...a Relais du Silence, of course. This route gives us an appetite and also intrigues us. And then we go into the Ibarboure family's property. It is another world where all species of tree seem to be at home. We pass banana trees, a willow, a few palm trees, some bamboo avenues…
We go on, we push a door. Smiles. From Soline, Anne-Marie, Philippe the founding father of this house with his brother Martin. If by any chance you pass a giant, don't be surprised. It's also an Ibarboure, Xabi, the eldest of the family and Soline's husband, in charge of the kitchen. He has the build of a rugby player, or a Basque pelota player. The house of the Ibarboure Brothers is a marvellous world where giants are gifted with creativity and extreme delicacy. When you sit down, in the large room overlooking the park, or at a table on a terrace attractively arranged in half-landings or in the original room with Basque accents, you will have a clear demonstration of this on your plate.
In the kitchen, armed with tweezers, Xabi picks herbs and flowers from his precious little boxes before sprinkling them on his plates. Here a borage flower, there the heart of a green zebra tomato, a truffle shaving, an agastache…accompanied by a rocket moussaka (yes, you're not dreaming!), celtuce lettuce, a dozen mini-vegetables, gelled tomato water, etc. and you have a great dish: tasty, colourful, delicate, natural - and magical! These herbs and flowers picked just behind the kitchen are not exclusively for one dish but are the signature of Xabi Ibarboure's cooking.
You can describe it in any way you like but this cooking is ultra-seasonal and localised. Here, expression becomes all-important. As a result, this philosophy inculcated by his father Philippe, who handed the kitchens over to him five years ago now, enables him to offer the best of the Basque country. And the producers, farmers and other fishermen have definitely understood that with Xabi, the produce is taken to another level. Look, here comes Christophe, an independent fisherman. Today, he is bringing salmon from the Adour. A pearl weighing more than 6 kg, only fished in May-June. "It bears no relation to farmed salmon. The taste is different, the texture also," says a delighted Xabi who entrusts the cooking of the salmon to Pierre, his second-in-command. It is grilled before being poached in oil.
The trilogy of Kintoa pig from Pierre Oteiza in les Aldudes? "Ears in mille-feuille, belly glazed at low temperature, and tenderloin roasted in chorizo oil." As an appetiser, Xabi offers txamengo, "a part of the pig that is not usually used. It's stringy, but well cooked, with piquillo peppers and parsley, in a little spring roll, it's delicious!" The fattened chickens come from Meracq where "Pierre Duplantier taps on the henhouse door before entering!" says a smiling Xabi who is always on the lookout for exceptional produce. The same is true for fishing, "local like the Guetaria octopus, the bonito from Saint-Jean de Luz, local anchovies, sea bass from Bayonne, etc." We're telling you: local, seasonal cooking!
As he is intimately connected to his local area, Xabi enjoys revisiting Basque cuisine like the Ttoro fish soup or Txangurro, a crab-based dish, which he wants to bring back as the taste of the day in coming seasons. Philippe, who we come across in the bakery or in the gardens, often exchanges ideas with Xabi and opens up his book of traditional recipes for him. "My father used to work a lot with roasting and he has passed this expertise on to me. I don't forget the basics, but I also look to work with more contemporary cooking styles such as sous-vide, slow cooking, etc." explains the young Basque, who used to work with Jean-Michel Lorain, the Pourcel brothers and Yannick Alleno, and was involved in getting the third star for the Meurice.
The Ibarboure Brothers' business has turned the corner. It is making its mark in its age without losing anything of its philosophy. Sincere Basque country work as a family. Moreover, the younger brother, Patrice, has just joined the team as a pastry chef. The second generation Ibarboure Brothers are at last together.
Discover our charming hotel Les Frères Ibarboure
What if you were...Xabi Ibarboure
- What if you were a dish?
- The variety of Kintoa pork, because the Basque land is combined with technology and modern creativity
- What if you were a supplier?
- A market gardener for the pleasure of picking from our garden
- What if you were a gourmet memory of your childhood?
- Aitatxi's (grandfather's) Basque cake
- What if you were a cuisine of the future?
- The cuisine of produce
- What if you were a cooking tip?
- Enjoy getting up early!
- What if you were a product?
- A potato, because you can do so many things with it...
- What if you were a region, a country or a city?
- The Basque country obviously!
- What if you were another chef?
- Michel Bras
- What if you were a character (real or fictitious)?
- Tintin, to travel and look for new products
- What if you were an art?
- Music, because as with cooking there is a score but the interpreter makes his mark
- What if you were a customer, what would you expect from your restaurant?
- That it makes me travel during the period of a meal