The setting sun, the sea breeze, and the five-star surroundings of Pine Cliffs Resort were the backdrop for The Chef´s Table event featuring the food of Alexandre Silva, Michelin star chef of Lisbon´s LOCO Restaurante.
After arriving we were greeted with a couple of glasses of Murganheira Vineyard´s sparkling wine, the first ones of their many sparkling wines that would be paired with our meal by the winemaker Marta Lourenço.
After all the diners arrived, we were privileged to be among the 25 invited to enjoy this culinary experience, Chef Silva said a few words before service. The Chef stressed that he only uses ingredients from Portugal, whether they be foreign ingredients to normal Portuguese cuisine, such as wasabi he still finds them grown and produced in Portugal.
The first dish to arrive contained two one-bite treats. The first was a Bacalhau à Brás (“Brás” style codfish) roll, a deliciously light subtle flavour of the cod came through along with a crispy potato exterior making this an excellent first bite. The next bite was a Rabilho tuna tartlette topped with beluga and lemon caviar, a much richer, fattier, and wholly extravagant delicious bite to end the first plate. This course had been paired with Murganheira Extrême Pinot Blanc Brut sparkling wine, a perfect pairing with a creamy mouth feel and just the right amount of acidity to cut through the rich tartlette.
The second dish on the first course to arrive was the Borboleta (Butterfly), this Chef recommended we take in three bites. And each one was amazing. The butterfly was made an ever so light matrix of prawn flavoured batter, fried or baked to perfection, on the top was 3 dollops of a delicious curry sauce, one for each bite. It also paired very well with the wine for the first course.
This course was my dining partner's favourite and a real masterpiece of cookery. Squid, ajo blanco and parsley oil was the description of the dish, but it was so much more. The squid was made into thin long flat ribbons similar to a tagliatelli noodle, and accompanied by Ajo blanco as a sauce. Ajo Blanco, or white gazpacho is made of bread, almonds, garlic, water, olive oil. This cold dish was really yummy, and a great experience, most likely near impossible to recreate at home.
The wine for the second course was Grand Cuvée Czar Rosé made from Pinot Noir grapes
Seabass, razor clam rice and seaweed, mussels nage, buddha's hand citrus was our first warm dish of the evening. The razor clams with rice was amazingly flavoured by the mussels nage or stock, and the citrus zest from the buddha's hand citrus fruit added a lovely zing to accompany the perfectly cooked piece of seabass.
The wine for this course was Murganheira Millésime Brut, another fantastic sparkling wine a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes this time and the white wine went very well with this seafood course
Before the fourth course arrival the winemaker Marta Lourenço came up and passionately spoke about her love for wine and, highlighting the unique combinations of grapes and inviting wine enthusiasts to visit the cellars of the company which are truly “spectacular”.
The next course was one of my favourites, veal cheek, roasted garlic, black pepper sauce. The small rectangular cheek was jam-packed with flavour and a decadent glaze on the top made it even more so. The richness was cut nicely by the foam accompanying the dish.
Complimenting this dish perfectly was the Murganheira Mignon Pinot Noir, our only non-sparkling wine of the evening and my favourite. The wine is reminiscent of the big Pinot Noirs from my home in the Pacific North West, from British Columbia or Oregon with dark chocolate, cherry on the nose and a lovely full-bodied, but not too big body.
After the richness of the veal cheek, this course offers an excellent refresh to the pallet. Simply titled Goat Milk, this course consisted of goat's milk in a variety of ways.
The goat´s milk was accompanied by the Murganheira Grande Reserva sparkling wine.
Finally, our last course was one final little bite, a delicious local peanut ice cream sandwich.
A great way to finish off the meal accompanied with Murganheira's vintage sparkling wine.
A lovely evening out that definitely makes me want to go and have the full experience of the 16-course meal at LOCO, it comes in at €156, or €246 with wine pairing. And I think a bottle of one of Murganheira´s delightful sparking wines will show up at the next birthday or celebration at our home.
For further information about Chef’s Table experiences at Pine Cliffs Resort. Please visit https://www.pinecliffs.com/pt/chefs-table/