Frozen Tamarind Margarita
Watermelon, Tomato, Broth of Fish Bones
Baguette, Corn Pepitas, Walnut Raisin, Cereal and Olive Breads
Foie Gras, Elote y Regaliz
Cremoso de Foie Con Pina con un Toque de Anis
Le Hora Del Bogavante y el Vermu
Gazpacho Verde de Pipicha con Trucha y Callo Nuestro Aguachile
Crema de Hongos, Epazote y Tortilla
Lubina, Cecina de Yecapixtla y Pimientos Asados
La Tortilla de Bacalao para dos
Pluma Negra y Mole Yucatan
Codorniz, Trufa y Aceituna con Tapioca de Algas
Espresso on Ice
El Mundo Dulce De Los Quelites
Arroz con Leche estilo “Casa Gerardo”
Bunuelo de Jengibre
Coulant de Turron de Jijona y Chocolate con Natillas Almendradas
Emerging from a torrential downpour, hail about half the size of a ping-pong ball ricocheting off windshield as a late-running Uber tried to navigate clogged traffic to the restaurant then ranked #43 in the World according to San Pellegrino, it can only be said that arrival at Biko in Polanco did not occur under ideal circumstances, the meal to follow unfortunately not improving the night very much as sterile, uninvolved service seemed to mirror food that lacked any congruent story to tell.
Described as ‘techno emotional’ cooking, or molecular gastronomy versus modernist cuisine depending on who is asked, Biko portends to offer a connection between the Spanish greats at El Bulli or Mugaritz and Mexican traditions as told by Chefs Mikel Alonso, Gerard Bellver and Bruno Oteiza, their menu divided into ‘Now’ and ‘Before’ dishes offered only in Spanish with a front of house seemingly disinterested in doing anything to help diners understand the concepts, even those who are fluent receiving little more than a few words description at the arrival of each plate.
Partly identifiable for some French and Basque influences, a Degustation plus several a la carte options offered with the decision left to individual diners as to whether they wished to partake in the whole Chef’s menu or to leisurely enjoy a more curtailed meal, it was with one tasting plus seven additional items ordered that the evening began with a tangy Tamarind Margarita surrounded by a rim of Salt and spice, the amuse of fresh Watermelon and Tomato plus an umami-rich cup of Bone Broth certainly the sort of flavors intended to rouse the palate, though the use of Salt both here and to follow seemed rather heavy handed at times.
Offering five types of Bread throughout the course of the evening, none save for the Pumpkin Seed Corn Bread nearly as interesting as those at Dulce Patria just six hours prior, course one featured Foie Gras lightly wrapped in a veil of Pineapple with Matcha and Anise as an a la carte choice while the tasting menu placed two small cylinders of Torchon in Corn Gel beneath Pearl Sugar sprayed silver alongside Chocolate Bread Crisps far too thin to be spread upon without shattering.
Turning next to a spongy Seafood Custard as part of the degustation, the flavor unapologetically briny with a texture akin to the inside of a Canele de Bordeaux, the a la carte option spun fancy on the Mexican tradition of Aguachile by putting Sashimi-grade Trout in the context of a chilled green Soup that tasted strongly of Cilantro along with a few spoons of Caviar that lacked the popping texture of many, but did contribute the expected salty notes.
Next presenting the only unmatched course of the evening, though the portion from the tasting was certainly big enough to share, Biko’s Mushroom Soup succeeded where many other dishes failed by relying on classic technique and good ingredients, the Wormseed used to form a delicate cotton that quickly perfumed the palate before dissipating while the two dishes to follow were also quite successful, the Salt Cod Omelet about as traditional as it gets while the Seabass dressed in Pimento Pepper reduction was flaky, moist and fragrant.
Unfortunately doing a disservice to the Iberico with Mole, Onions and an accompanying sauce that had the viscosity and salinity of a head cold, the a la carte choice of Quail sandwiched around Black Truffles with Chlorophyll-enhanced Tapioca once again outperformed its tasting menu counterpart by leaps and bounds, the same to be said of a bruleed Rice Pudding that was actually quite magnificent, particularly when compared to the Green mounds of fluff and Ice Cream that tasted like Kale or Chard made sweet simply because ‘they could.’
Next burying the deconstructed idea of Bunuelo beneath a Bird’s Nest, the aromatics of Ginger poignant along with savory notes from a Clove-like leaf that the server could not translate, it was after nearly three hours of puzzling about what, exactly, made Biko a ‘destination’ that the Lava Cake in a pool of Almond was finished, the flavors far more interesting than the ubiquitous presentation while the cup of Coconut Ice Cream that was already half melted on arrival at this point came as no surprise.