Bermo, September 29, 2005
37-39 Ercilla, Bilbao
Ok, lets be up front: I have the most heinous dinner in any Michelin-starred restaurant I have ever been to in Bermo. Just a one-star, but still! I don't usually post bad outlet. But Bermo is beyond awful.
I must give credit to everyone in the house for such a level of deficiency... It takes teamwork to achieve this, you know, just like what it takes for excellence. Better yet, they managed to keep that level consistent from start to end. Please don't get me wrong. I wasn't mad for the dinner. Rather, I remained curious the whole way through; curious to see how a starred restaurant, or the other way round, a respectable gourmet guide could fail. At the end, it was sad to find that my curiosity was better-feed than my appetite was. If by this far you still don't think I'm being saccharine, read on.
Once I warmed the chair with my rear ends I found something very odd in the astray. Looked closer, I was completely taken aback by what I found: a shelled prawn. How and why a prawn managed to find its way to my ashtray was totally inexplicable. Before long, the entree and the amuse boche were took out from the kitchen by the waiter. Mind you, this happened in less than ten seconds after I had given my order. The amuse boche was placed on my table while my foie gras, the entree, was resting in a table within my eyesight with staleness.
By now, the message was bloody clear to anyone who's not blind: I was having dinner in the most unpretentious restaurant I've been to, no less a very posh one. Period. People always complain luxury and pretentious are twins. They obviously haven't been to Bremo. There's nothing wild to fancy with -- most of the dishes in the degustation menu were pre-cooked (I couldn't tell whether the tuna and the duck breast were, but the others definitely were). "Dear customers, at Bermo, we are obliged to make sure you know all the things that we know. With a 55-euro bill, you deserve it." Next up, my second entree came. It was prawn and "Ibericos" ham in cold melon soup. Great to find the prawn was very familiar to what I saw moments ago. In Chinese we have an idiom that goes "吾熟吾食," which means it's better to eat what you are familiar with. I must confess I didn't realized what it means until then... The finale, "chef degustation desserts," a compilation of moistureless cakes and creams that could have easily found in any bakery, proved what was on my mind all night long was damn right: Bermo is a high class rut.
But these flimsy food were just drops in the ocean. I must also compliment my waiter. The way he poured water into my glass reminded me the Niagara Fall. Thank god the restaurant wasn't flooded. My glass was filled at last but so was the tablecloth. Enough. I was impressed.