Lurra opened in September 2015, the younger sister of Donostia. It is in a quiet side street north of Marble Arch, the room divided into two sections. The idea is to reproduce the food of the Basque grill, quite a tall order given the standard of restaurants in that part of the world.
The wine list was mostly but not entirely Spanish, with labels such as Bruno Lupin Rousette de Savoy Frangy 2013 at £33 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £13, Placet Valtomellosa Rioja 2013 at £49 compared to a retail price of £14, and Bodega Belondrade y Lurton 2013 at £75 for a bottle that will set you back £25 in a shop.
A small dish of Gordal olives (£3) were very nice, and if you take a fancy to these they can be bought from Brinidisa in London at £3.15 for a whole jar. I liked blistered Gernika peppers (£5) with sea salt, which had good flavour (13/20).
A plate of 3 year cured Iberico ham was £20.50, which seemed a little steep given that it was not a belotta grade, but was nonetheless very pleasant. Sourdough bread (£3) was dazzlingly good, so much so that I could hardly believe it. It tasted as good as my favourite London bread, that made at Hedone. I asked where it was from and, after some investigation discovered it was supplied from, er, Hedone. Ah well – good sourcing.
A plate of grilled vegetables (£7), including red and yellow peppers, was pleasant (13/20), and thin fries dusted with paprika and served with aioli were also fine (12/20). Grilled red peppers were rather oily though (11/20).
The two speciality dishes, both to share, are prime rib from a Galician milk cow and a whole grilled turbot in a sauce made from txacoli wine (£65/kg). We went for the turbot, in the hope it would be at least reminiscent of the superb charcoal grilled turbot at Elkano. Sadly it was not; for one thing the best tasting turbot comes from large fish, and this was well under a kilo in weight. Moreover it seemed to me that the grill was not hot enough judging from the texture and temperature of the fish. Finally, it was not very well filleted, so I spent some time picking bones out from it. It was serviceable, but to be honest nothing to write home about (barely 11/20). The price is also pretty outrageous, given that the wholesale price for a fish of that size was, at the time of writing, around £11 a kilo (a large turbot costs twice that or more per kg).
Service was functional. The bill came to £55 a head with just water to drink, and without dessert. If you had some nibbles and one of the sharing dishes followed by dessert, had coffee and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head would come to around £70. This is a lot, and although I really like the idea of the kind of food served at Lurra, the reality didn't deliver. Best to get on a plane to Bilbao and eat the real thing.