The Basque Kitchen was opened by Markel Rodriquez in 2012 as restaurateur
and head chef. Over those 9 years, he has
led his completely Spanish front of house and kitchen teams -which starts to illustrate his provenance and authenticity. He grew up in a small village in The Basque
region (which you can tell as soon as you start chatting with him) and sources
all of his ingredients himself. He brings many of them back from Spain on his
sourcing expeditions-but virtually everything on his menu is authentically Spanish. If it cannot be Spanish, it is sourced locally on the Island.
Over the years, the menu has been honed and crafted to cater for the tastes of his customers– offal being a common ingredient in Basque cookery but is not a feature of Markel’s menu. An example of that is the 1kilo steak challenge, can you eat the whole thing?? Also, don’t be fooled, it may say Tapas on the menu, but you’ll actually have the Basque version, “Pinxtos”. Pintxos is a concentrated version of Tapas, both in flavour and size. Small in size but big in taste!
It is not surprising to hear that Markel has won awards for his alioli, chorizo and many other ingredients on his menu, ask him about his awards when you are ordering, if you can drag him out of the kitchen! He scoffs when you mention reheating previously prepared food or buying food from suppliers in packets: everything is prepared from scratch from when your order goes in.
The Basque region is well renowned the world over for exquisite cuisine. Indeed, the first ever University degree in cookery, lasting 5 years, was founded in the Basque region. The region also boasts one of the highest concentrations of Michelin stars anywhere in the world, and it is this quality that Markel aspires to.
Being one of the businesses on the Shepards Marina site, many of the customers come from those visiting Cowes and using the CHC marina facilities, but it is open to anyone.
And it is “anyone” who really should seek out a table before it closes at the end of September because such provenance, authenticity and quality is a rare find in the UK let alone on the Island or even in Cowes. Make sure you get a table because time is running out to experience authentic Basque cookery in Cowes.