Puro 4050

Puro 4050 is one of the most talked about restaurants in Porto since its opening, located in the agitated Largo de São Domingos, “it had everything” to work even before it opened…

As if “having everything” would be so simple and easy, but in reality, after Cantina 32 (see), Luís Américo and Inês Mergulhão could only create another success.

But let’s go step by step, the cuisine has the lines Luís Américo has been defining – and well – for his spaces, after Mesa (yes, I was one of those who loved, a lot, to dine in a “nursing home”), simple cuisine, product unfolding, balance of flavors and textures, some international influences, dishes to share and focused in cold cuisine, among many other things. Here he introduced a different detail – making all the difference! – betting in a differentiating product, the Buffalo Mozzarellas coming straight from Campania.

Combining with the accurate aesthetic sense of Inês, that makes any of her restaurants worthy even just for the visit, deceptively simple spaces, cozy and welcoming, but at the same time cosmopolitan and agitated, transmiting the idea of us being in any big European capital (the amout of tourists also contributes for that!).

Already installed on the delightful terrace, and between some toasts with a young  Soalheiro de 2016 – already very promising – arises a modest but comfortable olive oil, accompanied by an even more interesting and delicate buffalo butter, that helped along the bread prepare our stomachs to what would follow.

Burrata, Parma DOP Prosciutto, Rocket (12€)
And off to a good start, with a great Burrata, clearly the best I ever tasted in the city, of a creaminess and richness beyond comparison. It’s impossible to go wrong with this classic combination! Very good!

Mozzarella Afumicatta, laminated courgette, pepper jam and poached pear (11€)
Another fresh dish where the star is the mozzarella, but this time in a smokey version, that won’t quite be the best choice to a less attentive client. Its notes and textures are very different from the common mozzarella. Here served with a good combination of flavors, with highlight to the excellent pepper jam and the fruit, that we already knew from the Cantina.

Pizza Focaccia, caramelized onion, mozzarella, black garlic and del piquillo peppers (6,50€)
Although at a good level, it was the least interesting proposal of those we tasted during this dinner. Highlight to the use of black garlic, and the balance between sweetness and acidity creating a good symbiosis among all the elements!

Beef Tataki, mushrooms and truffle (8,5€)
By truffle, know the use of the irritating truffle oil/butter, each day more famous around here! But moving on because the dish is much more interesting than that – perfectly cooked meat, of good texture and flavor, nicely paired with some moist and earthy shimeji mushrooms. Simple and well executed!

Octopus Risotto and chestnuts (12€)
In my point of view and assuming we are not in front of a risotto but a good rice dish, this is one of the great dishes of Puro, inspired by the Brazilian cuisine, using coconut milk and palm oil, and a bold combination of octopus and chestnuts, at first weird, but then great – this while I ask myself why there’s not a recipe already with this combination in Trás-os-Montes. Rich, greasy, sweet and with a great texture. It’s worthy to come back just for this rice (as I have…)!

Wagyu Ossobuco, Puro’s potato puree (25€)
The noble massaged meat, here presented in one of its “inferior” cuts, but full of flavor. Good texture of the meat and good connection with the sauce, enrichened with the few marrow I could take from the bone. Very good! And very well paired with the Puro’s puree, which is, in reality, a potato mash with caramelized onion, that gives it another character and life!

Porto Tawny Tiramisu (4€) and Lemon Crème Brulée with Amaretti
Without the wow factor, two desserts well accomplished, with highlight to the freshness of the lemon and the contrast of textures with the biscuit and the creaminess; and a good pairing of the Port and the chocolate in the case of the Tiramisu. A good chapter!

Chocolate Salami with Amaretti (3,5€)
It seems to be the fetish dessert of the restaurant; still, it was the least captivating for me. Interesting texture and flavor of the amaretti in the mouth, but without great history!

Buffalo Ricotta Pie, pumpkin jam (3,5€)
And I left the best for last! The best dessert of the night, elegant and fresh like the ricotta, and rich like a good pumpkin jam. A very well created dessert that is sure to end a good meal with a plus!

That and a memory of a famous pumpkin fondant with cream cheese that Luís insists in not repeating and many try to replicate without success.

A positive note to the agility of the service, the fruit of a well-thought menu and the sympathy of the team, that without great formalism and technical rigor are well matched with the food and space.

Final Remarks
It’s certain and I have already left it very clear that it’s not in this register I like to see Luís Américo, but it is what the market and life have requested from him, and what he does, he does well, so you can see by the success of the spaces he heads and the consulting jobs he does around town.

Even so, it’s always a good “Portuguese” excuse to visit Macao!

This Puro 4050 is a breath of fresh air in the city, a space with everything to every taste, from the simplest to the boldest, from the vegetarian to the anti-gluten. It’s a bold space, agitated and tasteful, which is positioned in a cosmopolitan side that Porto also needs and deserves! Offering unique produce, like the excellent mozzarellas and some irresistible combinations!

See you soon!

Puro 4050
Average price: 25€ per person, without wine 
Largo São Domingos, 84 – Porto
+351 22 2011 852

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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Quinta do Ameal

It was the year of 2013, we were in a wine tasting waiting for our glasses to be filled with Quinta do Ameal Loureiro, and despite already knowing the wines, we hadn’t met their producer, Pedro Araújo. Nice, smiley, and very passionate in his words, after a good talk about his wines, he confessed us he was creating wine a tourism at his farm. Showed us some pictures, talked about his ideas and his enthusiasm was so contagious we already expected something brilliant!

Years passed by, we kept running into Pedro in wine tastings and he always kept his enthusiasm, but nowadays all those captivating ideas are real. In 2016 we almost went to see and feel the reason of so much enthusiasm, but something unexpected got in the way!

The cellar where the great wines of Ameal rest 

But finally, in 2017, we went and I perfectly understood the passion in Pedro’s words, and just like that my passion for Quinta do Ameal and its wine tourism was born.

Nothing gives me more joy than mixing luxury with pure nature, wilderness, in its purest state. And that’s how I define Quinta do Ameal, a refuge in the middle of nature, mixing perfectly with the luxury present in every detail.

Casa Grande

Quinta do Ameal is a property in Ponte de Lima dating back from 1710, it counts with 30 hectares and it’s where Pedro creates and produces white wines of excellence, from the caste Loureiro.

It was acquired by the family in the 90’s, after the sale of Ramos Pinto, yes, Pedro has the history of wine running in his veins, being the great-grandson of Adriano Ramos Pinto. The Quinta was completely abandoned but an excellent recovery work was done here.

From the 30 hectares of the farm, 14 are vineyards, the rest is virgin forest, full of strength, and where Ameal Wine & Tourism Terroir occupies the space of the former houses, recovered and thought by Pedro, with a touch of good taste not common to everybody!

We arrived in a marvelous sunny day, Spring welcoming us with open arms, and the colors of nature as good hostesses.

The path from the entrance of the quinta to the houses is divine, surrounded by vineyards on one side and pine trees on the other with over 200 years of life and history, showing us a strong influence of the Mediterranean climate, with these imposing trees from the Old World!

Pedro welcomed us with his usual smile and immediately made us feel at home.

Around the Quinta there are several activities available, you can just stay around the pool all day with nature as background, or go for walks and discover paths among the trees, flowers, and vineyards, romantic corners and just get delighted, or even appreciate the different products growing in the land that assure a range of biologic options.

For the most adventurous souls, you can organize several activities in the Lima River, like the Kayak descent. If you enjoy walking, nothing like a good, long walk of 40km in the fabulous eco path with the Lima River as a companion.

For wine lovers, this place is magical, start with a visit to the vineyards, with Pedro as the guide, then visit the cellar and finish with an excellent wine tasting accompanied with some snacks.

Well, but now let’s talk about the recovery of the old houses. The main building, called Casa Grande, aka Big House (would’ve been the main house of those who lived here) has the biggest number of beds and a living area, the tasting room, or lounge, as you wanna call it, and three suites (Jardim, Camélia, and Glicínia), I mean they’re like houses, but we’ll get there!

The house among Bamboos and Vineyards 

A few meters away from this House, we have the House Among Bamboos and Vineyards (the former herdsman’s house) and why the name? Because of its location, surrounded by bamboos, that give it an oriental look, and some of the wonderful vineyards!

There are other buildings spread around the farm, the two former cowsheds yet to recover – maybe one day they can turn into a barn allowing the guests another great activity – the Housekeeper’s house (pleonasm aside!), and the offices.

But talking about what’s important…. my suite!
We stayed in the suite named Jardim (garden), and as the name indicates it had direct access to a huge garden, almost like a private nature corner just for me!

There are bedrooms, and then, those places you want to live in! And I felt exactly like that here. The feeling I got as soon as entering was that I could live there, mainly because of the perfect combination of history, elegance, luxury, and rusticity of the decoration.


The white of the walls gave the bedroom a sober environment, while the small areas in stone gave it just the right amount of rusticity, the furniture was the history element, each piece already have been used for other functions, and then restored, even the door of the bedroom was once the door of Pedro’s grandmother’s house!

The bed, besides huge as I love, must’ve been one of the comfiest I ever slept in.

 The room, simultaneously kitchen, living room and dining room, had the same elegance and decoration of the bedroom, art pieces, cozy furniture, rustic enough and with much, much light, coming from the windows perfectly placed. From here we had access to the garden, like a piece of paradise just for us!


By now you must be wondering about Cíntia’s favorite area! Well, let me tell you about this bathroom…. My God…
To start, a shower that could easily fit like half a dozen people!!! Double sinks, like, I mean, the best concept ever, a bathtub aside from wall, perfect decoration detail, much more interesting than the common tub, and books as decor, I can’t get tired of referring that, is there anything more interesting to decorate with? No! And looking at the picture you can see my passion for this bathroom, but there’s a detail you can’t see, the warm floors, and that’s one of the best qualities a bathroom can have!

You know what? Luxury is definitely in the details!

One of the best rooms I’ve ever been in, for sure!

Another fascinating detail about Quinta do Ameal was the fact I felt in a family home, always feeling pampered, in details as perfect as waking up in the morning and having breakfast at the door!

Obviously, this breakfast was taken in the garden, accompanied by the most sublime sound of all, the sound of nature!

Concerning meals, there’s not a restaurant (yet!!!) but the meals are assured at any time, that you can warm up or prepare in the suite or in the main room at the Casa Grande, so you don’t have to leave the quinta. But Ponte de Lima is also a place of good food, so if you need, the team of Quinta do Ameal has a series of good options to indicate you.

Main Room

Talking a bit about this room, it follows the same decorative line of the bedrooms, contemporary details, comfort in every detail and elegance. It’s also equipped with a kitchen that turned into the perfect place where we were able to cook and have a dinner with friends, with good music and good wines! The perfect evening!

And speaking of good wines, that’s exactly what is produced in this Quinta, some of the best white wines produced in the region of “Vinhos Verdes” and in Portugal. So, you can imagine we were “forced” to a tasting of Quinta do Ameal’s wines, working as a warm-up to the amazing evening I referred!

Quinta do Ameal Escolha

As you can see we had no thirst problems 

Among the tasted wines, the highlight goes to the 2015 harvest, both the Escolha and the Solo Único where in great shape, but the one that more easily conquered us was the Loureiro from 2007, showing the great aging ability of the wines and their elegance.

Those wishing to stay at Quinta do Ameal with friends or family, the ideal is the House among Bamboos and Vineyards, because it’s an authentic villa, with two huge bedrooms and common areas perfect for any mortal.

Another particularity of this house is the amazing and very Asian outdoor shower, taking us immediately to an exotic place somewhere in the world, the Camélia Suite also has this detail.

Suite Glicínia

The truth is these details and corners that make it different from everything else wouldn’t be possible without the vision and the traveling culture of their thinker, and in that Pedro was perfect.

Quinta do Ameal and its project Ameal Wine & Tourism Terroir are the perfect refuge if you just want to go away for a while and seek for a small piece of paradise on Earth.

The rough nature is, at the same time, virgin and pure; and it is felt so strongly you can’t put into words! This place is as much as authentic and genuine as it is unreal!

A special thank you to Pedro and the team of Quinta do Ameal for all the love!

See you soon…

Quinta do Ameal – Wine & Tourism Terroir
Bedrooms from 230€
4990 – 707
Refóios do Lima Ponte do Lima – PORTUGAL
+351 258 947 172
quintadoameal@netcabo.pt

Versão Portuguesa

 Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at Quinta do Ameal by invitation, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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StreetXO

David Muñoz no longer needs introductions, since in 2010 he ripped apart Madrid’s gastronomic scene, winning the first Michelin star with his DiverXO  (nowadays the only three-starred restaurant in the city), in a creative fusion, radical and even theatrical of the Mediterranean cuisine, with Asian flavors and ingredients.

But don’t be fooled if you think Muñoz is the fruit of the Basque avant-garde school, which so many names have brought to the spotlight; Muñoz started his career a bit through the good taste of his parents that took him, frequently, to the Madrid classic Viridiana, of the chef Abraham García, where he ended up working when he finished his studies, and to which he still pays an homage nowadays in his menus. Later he headed up to London where he worked for several years in Asian restaurants like Nobu and Hakkasan.

A training that worked up as the base for his creations, where technique and genius combine to create an experience of shocks, flavors, and even feelings, that in many cases you love and others you hate.

This said, his arrival in London to the opening of StreetXO – an informal space, inspired by Asian street food that had open in 2012 in Madrid, and which success made it one of the most wanted in town – made a lot of ink run, among newspapers, critics and opinion makers.

So we couldn’t miss a visit in our last trip to London. Located in the elitist neighborhood of Mayfair, the decoration was in charge of the visionary Lázaro Ros-Violàn, whose works leave no one indifferent. This StreetXO is not the exception, with an ambiance recreating the crazy imaginary of Muñoz combined with a strip club and a sci-fi movie like Blade Runner.

You just can’t stay indifferent!

Already installed we are quickly and joyfully accompanied throughout the menu, while the team takes the time to show us their knowledge of the menu and try some suggestions that meet our taste. The menu is divided in small moments of finger food and dishes to share, like good street food.

Our meal started with the arrival of cocktails, like good Londoners, and the Liquid Kitchen (aka the bar) of the StreetXO is also bold and creative, combining with the menu.

Excellent Dry, sweet and Sour!!! and the Pineapple slow roasted over coals, which, in the first case, combined vodka, cranberries, balsamic and petazetas and the other one an old mix of rum and pineapple, lime and tonka infusion.

Dry, sweet and Sour!!!

Pequinese Dumpling… 
The first dish is also a visual shock at the table, a bold combination of a gyoza with crunchy pork ear (unfortunately not crunchy in all the pieces), alioli with yuzu, pickles, and strawberry hoisin sauce. Well accomplished flavors, with the sweetness and the salty and fruity notes of the hoisin enhanced in a combination that had everything to go wrong, but didn’t! Just a miss in one of the pieces where the ear was not as crunchy as intended.

Steamed Club Sandwich
A small bao, steamed and filled with piglet, ricotta, chili mayo and quail egg. Spicy enough, lickerish and greasy in the mouth, with the ricotta bringing freshness to the combination, although there could’ve been less of it. Very good!

Korean Lasagne XO Style
One of the tastiest and comfiest dishes of our lunch, with a great combination of flavors and textures, a fruit of the combination of the Galician meat with the Korean gochujang spicy sauce, and the richness of the bechamel. High score to the contrast of the crunchy pasta, that is broken up over the dish after served.

Prawn5
When there’s scarlet shrimp at the table, I’m almost happy, when I taste it and it’s well worked then it’s party time! And so it happened with this dish, flawless in presentation and in the combination of elements. Perfect the scarlet shrimp with the right sweetness and moist and full of flavor head. Combining with several textures of prawn, from dim sum, dry prawn chips and a thin and crunchy baby prawn cracker. Rich and tasty sauce, with saffron aioli, almond, and edamame. A great dish!

At this point, we went for the second round of drinks and decided for the boldest combinations of the list, a Tokyo-Jerez Montril’s, in a bold combination of the smoked notes of the lapsang tea, with shiso, miso, yuzu, sake and sherry accompanied by a grilled prawn and its head. The other one was the Yellow Curry, an homage of flavors and cultures that quickly traveled between Europe, Bangkok, and India.

The team behind the “liquid cuisine”

 Yellow Curry

Tuna, Green Mango, and satay, coconut, tamarind and bergamot sauces
Looking like meat, it’s in reality a tuna cut from the neck of the fish, cooked in the robata and served with interesting contrasts of freshness and textures, given by the green mango and the sauces, taking us in a trip to the Asian skewers. Flawless!

“La Pedroche” croquettes…
Spain meets Japan in this dish, with the croquettes being part of the shari (sushi rice) to assemble a toro nigiri. Crunchy croquettes, filled with kimchi, goat milk and elevated by the smoked notes of the black tea LapSang SouChong. High score to the quality of the tuna and the combination, if they were perfectly fried, it would’ve been a great, great ending!

To finish, there are no desserts on the menu, but it was suggested to us a kind of dessert/cocktail, served in the famous cup of the pink panther (a part of the DiverXO’s universe), made with white chocolate, guava, rhubarb, strawberry and curry with a touch of petazetas to make this ending of meal even more fun.

Dessert 

The service was joyful, with the dishes coming at a good rythm, the team showing knowledge of the menu, giving good suggestions and with general environment of satisfaction, that while as clients is pleasing and motivates us to embrace the spirit of the restaurant, yes you have to enter with an open soul and receptive to the shock.

Manuel Villalba is the right hand of Muñoz in this bold project in the English capital 

Final Remarks
David Muñoz is a creative genius, loved by many and hated by so many others, but the truth is that behind all that image of enfant terrible, Muñoz is a cook, in its purest essence, it’s easier to see him behind the stoves of his restaurants (including this Londoner StreetXO) than in a magazine, TV show or even in the room being a celebrity.

His “dementia”, kindly speaking, is demonstrated in the theatrical environment he creates around a meal and in the unpredictable combinations of ingredients and flavors he uses in his dishes, you may not like it and for sure there are dishes that work better than others, but truth is you can’t stay indifferent to his cuisine.

One of the IT places these days in London!

StreetXO Londres
Average price: £70 per person, without wine or fees 
15 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair – London
+44 020 3096 7555
reservations@streetxo.co.uk

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at StreetXO by invitation, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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Carousel

When the idea of a Pop-Up restaurant comes to my mind, I admit my thoughts are not always the best, inexperienced cooks from a reality show, dishes with little content in substance or flavor, not very adequate work conditions, among many things that make me feel reluctant about this type of project.

However, in 2014, the cousins Ollie, Will, Ed, and Anna Templeton decided to revolutionize this practice, opening the Carousel, a restaurant with all the capacities, promoting in a curatorship style, the residence of different chefs for dinner at every two weeks. It’s like finding a new restaurant every time, but instead of an inexperienced young person who decided to change his life after a Gordon Ramsey show, we have young chefs on the top of their games, some already with restaurants in different parts of the world, others beginning their projects in London, using this space to present and test themselves, chefs like the Portuguese Leonardo Pereira or Elizabeth Allen, who was preparing to open a new restaurant after conquering a Michelin star at Pidgin.

With its location two steps away from our hotel – Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill (see) – and although not getting a table to dinner, we went to taste the lunch menu created by Ollie Templeton, based on seasonal products, and the offer of the day.

The room is rustic and industrial, quite contemporary, with wood giving some comfort and the long shared tables indicate that here you won’t just have a meal, but a tertiary, with confraternization and discussions among guests.

To start we are awarded with one of my favorite moments, the bread (in London, at least, ’cause in Portugal the good bread is rare), and what a great Sourdough it was, from the famous bakery Bread Bread, served after a second cooking already at the restaurant, good texture, aroma, and flavor. I could stay here without anything else, proving that in the end, I’m an easy to please man, I just need the best, as Sir Winston Churchill would say.

The delicious bread from Bread Bread, served with olive oil and salt flower 

Watercress Salad, apple, nuts and burnt butter vinaigrette
We started with a light salad with all the elements in the right proportion and nicely paired. The detail of the caramelized onion and the flavor of dry fruits of the butter elevated the dish to more than a simple salad. Nice start!

Mussels, artichoke, and toast 
The bread appears once again, this time in a dish, which is always a good harbinger. A bold combination of flavors and textures, of Earth and Sea, with the mussels and the artichoke, that could’ve been memorable if it wasn’t for the acidity, a bit too high, making it a bit difficult to taste all the game present in the dish.

Cavatelli, cuttlefish, and gremolata 
I won the day with this dish, the comfort food of the Italian nonnas here very well represented. Al dente pasta, with good flavors, delicate and tasty sauce with the cuttlefish ink, the mollusk with the right texture. The gremolata brought an interesting freshness. A great dish, here and in every part of the world!

Iberian pork “Presa”, parsley and shallot pickles 
I’m one of those who likes to have my pork very pink, rare, a crime some may say, an insult to public heath, but the reality is that things aren’t already that linear. This to say that even for me, the center of this piece was too rare. Delicious and tasty meat, worthy by itself and just suffered a bit for that detail (maybe in London they like it even rarer than me). Interesting also the contrast with the pickle and the freshness of the parsley, and of course the bread, that pleasantly replaces any sides the meat could have.

Grapefruit Pie
Delicate, fresh and buttery filling, with a velvety creaminess and texture, worthy of highlight, contrasting with the thin cover of burnt sugar and the base. A simple, tasty and not very sinful ending!

Accompanying the meal was, and very well, an alvarinho, a Albariño Zarate 2015, from Rias Baixas, which acidity and minerality were of highlight. An alvarinho of great elegance and freshness that went really well with the simplicity and freshness of the meal.

A remark also to the wine list, based majorly in small international producers, with Vitor Claro and his elegant wines from Alentejo representing Portugal.

The service, as expected from this type of space, was informal, caring and relaxed. I must say the nice employee conquered me right away from the readiness she replaced my bread basket!

Final Remarks 
The Carousel project was born to bring a bit of theater and cinema to the Londoner restaurant scene, creating a concept where it is possible to reserve a ticket to a different dinner every two weeks in their website, with different teams, and very different cuisines and flavors, always with that same cozy and familiar room. It’s a niche project, for sure, but one worthy of accompanying, praising and taste at each new residency, where every presence of a different chef revolutionizes a bit the world of gastronomy. At lunch, the menu brings the simplicity and respect for good products, allied to correct prices without the usual excesses of the area it is inserted in. A safe value, for a comfortable lunch and unpretentious!

In our case, we just have to come back during one of the residencies, who knows of a young Portuguese talent!

Carousel
Average price:
Lunch – £20 without wine or fees 
Dinner – with a £40 ticket per person, without wine or fees
71 Blandford Street, Marylebone – London
+44 020 7487 5564
info@carousel-london.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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Ametsa – With Arzak Instruction

With Nahm leaving an empty space in COMO The Halkin, after they moved to Bangkok (see), the Ametsa was born in 2013, more precisely the Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, a not so happy name for the first adventure of Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena outside the Basque Country and his magical Arzak (***Michelin).

About the parchment of its creators there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said, and they don’t arrive in London with something to prove to anybody, however, everytime a celebrity chef arrives in town, mostly when in a consulting way, there are questions to ask, mainly about the ability of the space to respect the identity and philosophy of a chef, without him being in the kitchen. And for that, the Arzaks brought to London some key elements of their team, Mikel SorazuIgor Zalakain and Xabier Gutierrez, so nothing was left to chance.

The decoration respects the modernity of the cuisine; a white room with metallic details, where the resource to wood brings us some comfort, making it cozy and less cold. A special note to the detail of the ceiling, full of thousands of test tubes full of spices – a good detail, deserving of some attention by those welcoming us.

Already installed, we were once again received by a loud and good Portuguese (our young emigrants are everywhere!), a detail that always conquers us and here helped us understand all the details of each dish.

After a great Sourdough and a great whole wheat bread with pumpkin seeds, submerged in fresh, herbaceous and spicy olive oil, followed the classic welcoming of the chef.

 The welcoming at Ametsa

Starting by the Rascasso with kataifi dough, a classic that is presented, for years, as welcome at Arzak, paying an homage to the mother house, the fish is transformed into a kind of nicely prepared cake, with good flavor and texture, contrasting well with the crunchy of the kataifi dough on the outside. Following was a Test Tube of Iberian Prosciutto, showing all the technical rigor of the Spanish avant-garde, where the good game of textures suffered from the lack of prosciutto flavor.

And lastly, we tasted a Sardine Doughnut, with an excellent presentation, but with a very dense dough, losing a bit of the sardine flavor. Great contrast of the onion pickle and truffle oil.

Resuming, a beginning with highs and lows, but anticipating a good level to what would follow.

On the glass we started with a Jerez, Delgado Zuleta Monteagudo Oloroso, a very gastronomic wine, of amber color and marked notes of dry fruits and wood, in the mouth, its dryness and softness contrasted well with the intensity and deepness of its ending in the mouth.  

Scarlet Shrimp, spinach, and orange flower 
For starters, we got the suggestion of the scarlet shrimp, of flawless texture and cooking, nicely paired with the spices and freshness of the orange flower gel. An unusual combination of flavors that worked out very well!

Sea bass with marinated banana
A dish with a somewhat tropical combination that quickly transported me to the fish dishes with banana and passion fruit from the Madeira Island. Here showing some influences from other latitudes, with a trip to Asia and Latin America. Very good flavor and cooking of the fish, as well as the contrast of flavors and textures of the banana.

Harmonizing was a white from Rioja 2015 – Tierra, a wine of golden tones and whit fruit aromas, citric, a bit of excess wood, revealing a soft path in the mouth, with an acidity that worked well with the dish.

Venison with Longan
Excellent presentation in another combo of Asian inspiration with the resource to Longan, that brought a sweet and sour side, but fresh, to the venison pairings. The meat was the least interesting element, much because of the cooking point that could’ve been lower. High score to the cardamom sauce and the notes of the pepper cream.

On the glass, we traveled to Bierzo with a Xestal 100% Mencia from 2009, a concentrated wine, full of dark fruit, structured in the mouth, with a long ending. An interesting combination with the richness of the plate.

Palate cleanser

As a palate cleanser, we traveled to Iran, with a sweet inspired in Limu Omani, the dry limes/lemons prepared to turn into a spice of citric and vinegar notes. Here recreated through a great lemon curd covered in chocolate and benefiting from the intense flavors of the “real” Limu Omani.

Giant Truffle
This dessert is already a classic at  Ametsa, one, apparently, giant chocolate truffle, that is watered with a chocolate sauce causing it to melt before our eyes while the several textures of chocolate and cocoa mix together. A sin to any chocolate lover’s heart, enhanced by the notes of Cointreau.

Petit Fours

To finish an already long meal, the petit fours travel between flavors of chocolate, pistachio, and raspberry.

The Service went perfectly, with a subtle touch of informality well balanced with the rigor and knowledge of a starred restaurant.

Final Remarks
The brand of the Arzaks in the Spanish avant-garde is well marked in the cuisine of this Ametsa, obviously, no one can expect a dinner here to be like traveling to San Sebastian, with Elena and Juan Mari heading the brigades and spreading their charm in the room while talking to their guests and explaining their creations. We do expect a good alliance between contemporary decoration, good service and a cuisine created from head to toe and some memorable dishes.

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction
Average price: £70 per person without wine or fees 
Halkin Street  – London
+44 020 7333 1234
ametsa.thehalkin@comohotels.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at Ametsa by invitation of the COMO group, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

My charm for the Hyatt group grows stronger every time I stay in a new hotel. And so it happened in the renewed Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, during another pleasant stay in London.

As the name indicates, this hotel was designed to transmit an authentic homage to the honorable Winston Churchill and all his legacy.

Located in one of the noblest areas in the city, Portman Square, close to some of the most famous places in London, like Hyde Park, the British Museum or the main department stores in the city.

First Impression
An imposing building in a refined square, full of attentive staff at our arrival. As soon as the car stopped they opened our door and immediately welcomed us with a “Good Morning Madame!

We entered without delays and met a huge lobby, extremely elegant, of classic and colonial decoration with modern details and filled with art. The typical bustle of this kind of urban and financial hotel gives it a certain charisma, despite all the confusion.

We were quickly forwarded to the reception and the check in was done without delays while we drank flavored water.

The hotel suffered a renovation that started in 2014 ’till 2016, making it much more sophisticated and updated, without losing its identity and tradition, mainly because helping were Winston Churchill’s family members!
Bedrooms
There are 440, of four types, the Standard, the View, the Regency Club and the Suites – Saatchi, Churchill, Presidential and Royal.

As we walked to our bedroom I could see the elegance of the hallways, the floor with silky carpets of different patterns, always with a sober look and wallpapers with different textures combining perfectly with the floor.

  The welcoming at Hyatt Regency

Along the halls it’s also possible to see the technological component of the renovation, in the walls, we can find screens with information about the hotel, general information and information about different events and conferences happening that day or the next.

We stayed in a View room, in other words, with direct view to the Portman Square garden. As soon as I entered I noticed a sober decoration, elegant and at the same time contemporary, being comfort the watchword.


Waiting for us was a true feast! Different snacks, wine, and a gift: a book with famous phrases of Winston Churchill. At our disposal were also tea, coffee, and water, throughout the stay.


The bathroom was the main character of the bedroom, with a TOTO toilet! I never know the use of all those buttons but I press them all (!) and the warm seat “kills me”! One can only be truly happy until using this toilet! Besides, the robe was of the silkiest and comfortable I ever experienced, and the hygiene products from Pharmacopia made the delights of my bath! The bathtub had the same decoration of the bedroom, adorned with a gorgeous dark marble.

 The famous TOTO toilet

Restaurant Montagu

Restaurants/Bars
This is one of the ex-libris of Hyatt Regency London. Both for guests or the public in general, delighted while passing by the hotel and observing one of the most beautiful winter gardens in London. I’m talking about the Churchill Bar & Terrace.

The Churchill Bar & Terrace

Inspired by the dignified Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, this bar offers us signature cocktails awarded many times, a huge variety of Gin, homemade tonic water, and it is as bohemian, as it is classic. The space presents as well a cigar menu, delighting the connoisseurs.


The space presents an extremely luxurious decoration, we can find many books with contents that used to fulfill Churchill’s free time, and also small details that took us back to the love between Churchill and Clementine.

The ex-libris of this space is the terrace or winter garden. One of the most beautiful places I saw during this trip to London. In white and gray tones, with the elegant and rustic look mixing perfectly. This space is always full, of guests and locals, and you can easily understand why!

Another of the gastronomic places of the hotel is the Locanda Locatelli, an Italian restaurant with a Michelin star, that we, unfortunately, didn’t have the chance to experience, but those who did have quite positive critics.

 The Cheese and Wine Experience 

Last but not least, we have the Montagu. One of the main spaces of the hotel, in an environment I love, with open-kitchen. This space has a very classic decoration, with modern details and an ambiance of a royal dining room, inspired by the cuisine and dining room of Chartwell, Churchill’s country house!

 Breakfast at Montagu

In this space are served all the meals of the day, from breakfast – and what a breakfast! – to lunch and dinner. Besides these meals, we can also experience the Sunday Champagne Brunch – as the name indicates, it has unlimited champagne right in the morning! – the New York Italian-Style Brunch on Saturdays, and also the Afternoon Tea with the traditional 5 o’clock tea, very British.

The Cheese and Wine Experience 

We had one perfect experience, something the hotel has been doing for a few months, the Montagu´s Cheese and Wine Corner, presenting us a memorable experience that pretends to bring back Winston Churchill’s habits, with his taste for great wines and great cheeses (the way he usually finished his meals).

We had the chance to taste five types of cheese, 20g of each, accompanied with excellent quality, fruit, jams produced in the hotel, dry fruits, toasts, and sausages. All this harmonized with wine, the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee that expresses a perfect combination of intensity and delicacy, harmonizing beautifully with all the cheeses; and the Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit which elegance transformed it also in a perfect pair for the cheeses.

High score also to the Solera 1847 Oloroso, a beautiful Jerez.

Highlight to the superior quality of the cheeses from small producers, well tuned by La Fromagerie, showing not only of Stilton live the great British cheeses. Excellent textures, excellent aromas and great flavors showing a care above average in terms of cheese tables in hotels.

Services
Hyatt Regency London is a hotel for every taste and all needs, versatile for business but also, at the same time, a place where you want to stay your entire trip to London.

At first sight, it for sure looks like a Business Hotel, due to its facilities according to that designation, like the case of its Business Centre, with 12 specific rooms for that, in its generous 627m2!


But these spaces can be used for other purposes, like entertainment, special celebrations, yes, because this hotel can also be the place to say the so desired “I do!”, in a wedding party able to enhance any love relationship.

Whatever you need the hotel assures, and that makes of Hyatt Regency one of the most important hotels in London.

Due to its great location, one of the perfect options is visiting several important places in the city, like the Hyde Park, a tour at the National Gallery, or the mandatory British Museum, or even follow the Churchill line and visit the Churchill War Rooms, that I must say it’s one of my favorite places in London (see).

If you prefer to go shopping, you have the Bond Street, the Oxford Street or the Regent Street very close to the hotel.

The hotel has also a Fitness Center, small but very dynamic, open 24h a day. For me, it was not the ideal, once it had too many cardio machines, and none for bodybuilding, so my workout during the stay was a bit limited (yes, I’m now addicted to these things!).

The hotel doesn’t have a spa, but you can book a massage in the bedroom by request.
The hotel also has limousine service by request, and transfer to and from the airport.

If you like traveling with animals know the hotel is not pet-friendly, unless for service animals.

The Hyatt Regency London presents also free WIFI to its guests, laundry service, and room service 24h/day.

Service
The Hyatt group always excels in service, the staff has a training that assures education and care, pleasing every guest.

From the moment we arrive at the hotel we are always accompanied with care, smiles, and professionalism. Our experience in the restaurant was memorable, the staff of the Cheese and Wine Experience at the Corner of Montagu was so nice you can’t put into words, one of the employees, Zé, was from Trás-os-Montes like João, super genuine, as any good “transmontano”, lovely, as the rest of the team.

And because staying in a hotel is not only about activities, services, gastronomy or palpable experiences, it is made also of people, people that in years from now will still be a part of our memories and make us smile.

Thank you, Hyatt, for another memorable stay, and thank you Sir Winston Churchill for inspiring such a meticulously pleasant space.


See you soon London, and see you soon Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill!

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill
Bedrooms from 400€
30 Portman Square – London
+44 (0)20 7486 5800

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia OLiveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill by invitation of the Hyatt group, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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London – Eneko at One Aldwych

London is increasingly a gastronomic mecca, being not only a desirable destination for all the foodies but also for chefs who establish there or open spaces in the city – like Heston Blumenthal, Daniel Boulud, the Arzak family, David Muñoz, Anne-Sophie Pic, Virgilio Martínez, Alain Ducasse or Pierre Gagnaire, just to name a few.

The truth is that it’s becoming difficult to put up with all this gastronomic bustle in London, but one of the most recent openings was our excuse to a quick visit and the return to a hotel that had already made us very happy, the One Aldwych, right in the heart of Covent Garden (see).

After around two years of negotiations and renovations, the contemporary Boutique Hotel welcomes the Eneko at One Aldwych, which as the name indicates, brings to London the cuisine of the Basque chef Eneko Atxa (*** Michelin in his Azurmendi and a constant presence in the guide The World’s 50 Best). A luxury “hiring” that completely put the spotlight in the opening of this space.

The dining room of Eneko at One Aldwych*

Nothing was left to chance in this opening, from the bold decoration, left in the hands of the famous Casson Mann, an homage to the industrial origin of the building of One Aldwych (former headquarters of the Morning Post), with a touch of the Basque country with the sofas in the tone of Espelette pepper, furniture designed especially for this space and a bold combination of textures making this wide modern space also cozy.

All this work has its highlight as soon as we enter and start going down the stairs (worthy of Kings and celebrities who like to mark their entrance) and we pass firstly in the bar, where you can taste some Pintxos with Txakoli or signature cocktails, created by Pedro Paulo for the restaurant.

Already installed in a wide and comfortable table, we started our experience.

And we started really well, with a great selection of bread – with highlight to the sourdough – and a delicious butter with basil and chives, mixed at the table in a beautiful ceramic mortar – a simple and very effective start, combining perfectly with the cocktail French 75, a combo of  Gin Mare, fresh herbs, lemon, and Cava.

Bay of Biscaia Memories 
The cuisine at Eneko is not a Londoner adaptation of Azurmendi, it’s a space with its own identity, more simple and informal, where the Basque chef wanted to pay an homage to his roots. A good example of that is this starter “Bay of Biscaia Memories”, with the intensity and flavors of the sea, so popular around there. For that, he uses seaweed and dry ice (yes, it’s still a thing in 2017) as the base to a great crab, with armoricaine sauce, with all the meat inside the shell, full of sea flavor and an elegant sweetness. The superb oyster with a good plankton emulsion and an excellent shrimp tartar with herring roe served inside a porcelain urchin. A beautiful start!

Foie Parfait, apple jam with Txakoli 
Another interesting presentation with the parfait served inside a beautiful porcelain apple. High score to the freshness and combination of green apple flavors with Txakoli wine and the texture and greasiness of the parfait. High score also to the crunchy dough, bringing more texture to the mix. I would easily trade the salty sablée toasts for the sourdough!

Hake, red peppers and parsley emulsion
The loving hake of the Basque here met an English adaptation, fish & chips style. But the dish is much more than that, a flawless tempura – dry and crunchy, and a perfect hake – moist and full of flavor. Nice detail with the peppers confit bringing some power and earth notes, but the highlight goes completely to the hake, probably the best piece of fried fish I ever had!

 Oxtail, mushroom emulsion 
Despite being one of my favorite cuts, it was the least surprising. Although visually flawless and the amazing mushroom emulsion, the meat was a bit overcooked and the combo turned a bit too sweet. Lacking an acid element or a side to balance the dish.

Mushroom rice
A bomb and brothy rice, perfectly cooked and rich in mushroom flavor, elevated by the mushroom emulsion served as the topping. A great, great rice!

Rose Marshmallow, Strawberry sorbet 
A perfect dessert for me, light, fresh, not too many elements and a few textures. Amazing strawberry ice cream, velvety, quite the style of the pacojet, nicely paired with fresh strawberries (strangely good given the time of the year) and the strawberry foam as well as the lightness of the marshmallow and the rose blades. Very good combination of floral and fruity flavors!

Salty Caramel Mousse, cookie crumble and goat milk ice cream 
A much more sinful dessert, yet with very well balanced sweetness. Excellent mousse, amazing ice cream, good combination of elements and textures. Good ending!

The wine list, while not being huge, presents a great selection of Spanish wines with lots of options by the glass. In our case, we opted for a Rioja wine, 100% Tempranillo (meaning it’s like our Tinta RorizR & G from 2011, with wood, vanilla, red fruits and spices notes. In the mouth, this Rolland Galarreta wine revealed some toast notes, medium body, more fruit and well-marked tannins, a modern wine following the current tendencies, but personally for me it was not satisfying. The harmonization was particularly happy with the oxtail, the mushroom rice, and the peppers confit.

The Service was matching with the meal, demonstrating celerity, sympathy, good suggestions and an excellent knowledge of the menu presented.

Final Remarks
Before thinking of booking a table at Eneko at One Aldwych it’s important to avoid a common mistake that happens when a name like Eneko Atxa opens a new restaurant, the excessive expectation. I say this because the idea here wasn’t to create a “new” Azurmendi but to open a new concept, much more informal, without the complexity and of course, without the structure and prices of a three-starred restaurant. The seal of the chef is very marked, not only in terms of presentation and technique but also in the combination of flavors and the Basque inspiration that serves as the main base here.

This said, Eneko is one of the newest great options in Covent Garden, the menu is deceptively simple, with risk and innovative details, and some things that live in perfection, like the Hake that I won’t easily forget, for sure!

Mandatory visit!

Eneko at One Aldwych
Average price: £40 per person, without wine or fees 
1 Aldwych  – London
+44 20 7300 0300
eneko@onealdwych.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses / * promotion photo 

Disclaimer
We were at Eneko by invitation of the One Aldwych Hotel, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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One Aldwych Hotel

As you know, I love coming back to where I once was happy, so I combined that idea with a good excuse, the opening of the restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych last year, from the acclaimed Basque chef Eneko Atxa (*** Michelin), to return to the Hotel One Aldwych in London (see the 2015 article), in the heart of Covent Garden.

Returning to London is always a pleasure, with or without Brexit, this city is still one of my favorites, and Covent Garden one of my favorite areas, with an unpretentious elegance atmosphere, full of culture.

The reason for this return was the Restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych, however, our stay in the hotel is once again deserving of a special highlight. Still imposing, looking at it from the outside is like feeling the haughtiness of other times.

As entering I felt that same vibrant bustle, typically bohemian, you only get in London pubs, which I love!

I was once again standing in the ambiance of The Lobby Bar, headed by the brilliant (and Portuguese!) Pedro Paulo – who by these days is presenting his new cocktail menu, of which we’ll talk about later.


We headed to the reception and were welcomed with a wonderful “Bom Dia” (Good morning in Portuguese)! Yes, the hotel is full of “good Portuguese people”!

Our room was being prepared and we were left (and well) in the hands of Pedro, at The Lobby Bar, turning our arrival at London in a dive into the great “bubbles” Perrier-Jouet, while catching up with each other.

The Lobby Bar

In that precise moment, looking around me, I realized why I fell in love with One Aldwych that first time…art is everywhere, in a cosmopolitan atmosphere, but with its identity complete, in a bustle of bohemian behavior, without losing comfort.

Meanwhile, after this pleasant moment in the company of Pedro, we headed to our bedroom.

 

The bedrooms at One Aldwych never disappoint, comfort and contemporaneity are in order, the art of welcoming is always present in small details, like the fresh fruit every day, the biscuits in the first day, the fresh flowers harmonizing the environment of the bedroom.

The bed… oh, the bed! The beds of this hotel are still the most comfortable and functional I ever experienced!

The Lobby Bar

Concerning gastronomic spaces, the One Aldwych couldn’t be better represented. Starting with the restaurant  Indigo, an elegant space, but informal, with a gluten-free cuisine, wherein 2015 we had a pleasant meal and where we could once again have a great breakfast, à La Carte – with everything being prepared by precept and arriving at the table at the right moment.

Restaurant Indigo 

 Classic Eggs Royale

On its turn, The Lobby Bar is on the top of my preferences of all the spaces in the hotel, a cosmopolitan ambiance, dynamic and full of glamor!

Pedro Paulo

Here I tasted some of the best cocktails ever, by the hands of Pedro Paulo. In this place are served some light meals during the day, and also one of the most luxuriant 5 O’clock Teas in London!
Imagine yourselves as characters in the classic story of Roald Dahl, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and feel awarded by the sweets of Willie Wonka, that’s what you’ll get here.

This tea can also be served privately in one of the rooms designed to that effect, in a total of 12 to 30 people.

During our visit, Pedro Paulo and his team were finishing the preparations of the new cocktail menu, promising to be the boldest ever, making many pages turn in the Londoner magazines of the subject. We were able to taste the classic Old Fashioned prepared at the table with the aid of an elegant Trolley designed by Pedro, promising to delight the clients and their cameras – Soon we’ll show you the preparation of the classic drink.

(P.S. The menu saw the light of day recently, and the English critic surrendered to the new preparations and concepts of a menu inspired in the London Theaters, divided into Comedy, Satire, and Drama, where the cocktails are based on several of the famous plays in the city. Highlight also to a cocktail that promises the return to the origins of the cocktail with a trip to the virtual reality world).

Last but not least, we have the gastronomic space that made us return, the restaurant Eneko at One Aldwych of the famous Eneko Atxa´s, chef of the Azurmendi Restaurant (***Michelin). So, at this Eneko in London, we can find in his creations the inspiration of the Basque tradition, but João will talk about that in another post.

A perfect hake, in a Fish & Chips style at Eneko at One Aldwych

But a good hotel is not only made of gastronomy, so let’s move on to leisure and relaxation spaces. As I mentioned in the previous article the hotel has services to satisfy all guests, starting with the simple fact of its location.

Covent Garden is one of the prettiest regions in the city, where some of the most important galleries and theaters are located, namely the Lyceum Theater, right next to the One Aldwych, with the exhibition of the Lion King (that we still haven’t seen, unfortunately, but that’s always a good excuse to return!).

Besides the area, the hotel is also different for its spa complex, with that fabulous pool I will never forget, with underwater music, besides treatment rooms, bath circuits and an excellent gym (yes, I’m now a usual guest of this type of places!).

The Lounge 

Another space that fascinated me at One Aldwych, and which I didn’t know existed, was the Lounge, located right next to the entrance of the hotel with a secret passage, very similar to a personal refuge, where silence and calm are kings, opposed to The Lobby Bar. It’s quite interesting to verify this duality of concepts, two very different spaces so close to one another.


This room, similarly to the rest of the hotel, has a contemporary luxury atmosphere, with an attention to detail given by art pieces and the constant presence of flowers. Here we find artworks with inspiration in the history of the hotel when it was the headquarters of several newspapers.


One of the most beautiful and relaxing places in the hotel.

Our moments at One Aldwych, in this long weekend in London, were perfectly spent, returning to where we were happy, discovering new places, like our experience at the restaurant Eneko, or rediscovering places that make us love this hotel even more like The Lobby Bar or the Lounge, or also for the team even more perfect this time.


For sure one of my favorite places in town, even if you don’t stay at the hotel don’t miss an opportunity to visit it, enter for a cocktail at The Lobby Bar, and meet one of the most important barmen in London, experience the sensation of being part of a sweet fantasy with the memorable 5 O’clock tea or even book a table at the cosmopolitan  Eneko at One Aldwych, but please don’t miss the chance to get to know one of the best hotels in London, you won’t regret it!

Once again I say: “See you soon One Aldwych!”

One Aldwych
Bedrooms from 390€
1 Aldwych – London
+44 (0)20 7300 1000

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at One Aldwych by invitation of the Hotel, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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The Ivy Market Grill

After buying the Caprice Holdings, more than 10 years ago, Richard Caring’s investment in restaurants and clubs never stopped! However, just in 2014 he dared to use the name of what would be, most likely, the most famous restaurant in London, The Ivy, and create new spaces around such a powerful brand.

The special thing about the classic The Ivy (which celebrates 100 years in 2017) is not only the comfort food, service or decoration but the fact that during years making possible for the common mortal to share a dining room with the most important figures and celebrities of London and the World.

For the opening of its first spin-off (nowadays they are several already), Richard Caring installed right in the heart of the famous square of Covent Garden with the “new classic” The Ivy Market Grill.

The space was perfectly chosen, a building of historic facade, an inviting terrace with view to the bustle of Covent Garden, and the interior divided into 2 floors.

The metal, wood, and leather are kings in the decoration, in a very masculine and bourgeois environment that quickly transports us to the historic cafés in Paris, London or NYC. The bar honors the Ivy Original, the reduced space between tables reminds us we’re in a kind of brasserie and the pieces of silver bring us the comfort and identity of other times. That’s one of the talents of Martin Brudnizki’s studio, in charge of the decoration making a new restaurant seem part of that square since forever.

But let’s leave business, decoration, and glamor aside and talk about the reason we’re here, the food and warranty seal of The Ivy. At this Market Grill the idea was to create an all-day dining, with options for breakfast, the 5 o’clock tea, the pre and after theater menus (being on the West End). Creating for that a menu based on comfort food, mainly British, with options for every taste.

I usually say something good is to come when a Lagouile knife appears

And we start very well with a toast of champagne, made especially for the group, The Ivy Collection Champagne.

Smoked Salmon, Crab and Fennel cream 
Nicely smoked salmon with elegant notes of wood, bringing complexity to the aroma and flavor of the fish. Nice texture and very well paired with the crab and fennel cream that freshens the combination. Simple and effective, a beautiful start!

Tartar Steak
A French classic, well worked, meat perfectly cut by hand, nicely seasoned with the pickles, the shallot, the parsley and a sauce of tabasco and mustard, enrichened by the greasiness of the yolk. A great tartar!

Tornedó Rossini 
A version of the classic, with the meat perfectly cooked and sealed, great foie, truffle and a sauce that could be just a bit more intense.

A version that wouldn’t for sure embarrass Mr.Rossini!

Sheperd’s Pie 
The most emblematic dish of the brand The Ivy – the English version of meat pie – here prepared with lamb blade cooked at low temperature along with veal and a potato puree with a good dose of butter and Cheddar. True comfort food, rich and greasy flavors, perfect for the cold felt in London by the time of our visit. Accompanying, sautéed bimis with lemon zest.

Frozen Berries, White Chocolate, and yogurt ice cream 
The fresher option of the dessert menu, revealing a good game of textures and temperatures, between the frozen of the red fruits, the creaminess and acidity of the ice cream and the hot white chocolate sauce. Simple and effective.

Chocolate Bomb, milk foam, honeycomb, vanilla ice cream and salty caramel sauce 
It’s the most famous dessert of the restaurant and the opposite of the previous one – a bomb of sin and sweetness – in which all the elements blend together with the salty caramel sauce, creating a desirable combination (while closing your eyes and forgetting the calories).

Accompanying was a white from the Veneto region in Italy, a Soave Clássico da Suavia, 2015, 100% throat, a light white, fruity and easy to drink, with citric notes and minerality showing well. In terms of reds, we chose a 2013 Lalande de Pomerol, a Plaisir de Siaurac that although not creating history, did not compromise the harmonization with the meats, thanks to its spices and red fruits notes and its elegant tannins. A remark also to the glasses, that with a short foot makes them less interesting to the tasting.

About the service, the mentions couldn’t oddly be better, it is impressive the attention given in a room with so many seats, serving non-stop from breakfast till dinner. Rythm, sympathy, knowledge, recommendations, joy – the service at the Market Grill is really well trained and it is one of its biggest strengths.

Final Remarks 

The Market Grill is much more than a spin-off of a famous product, it’s an homage to The Ivy but it has its own identity. Its atmosphere invites us to stay and enjoy the charm and Bohemia from other times, while the cuisine transmits sensations of comfort, with simple dishes, well elaborated and with good produce.

For sure it’s not the most surprising restaurant for a gastronomy experience, but it is one of the right places to live London, with its energy and bustle through the table.

The Ivy Market Grill
Average price: £30 per person, without wine or fees
1 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden – London
+44 20 3301 0200
reservations@theivymarketgrill.com

Versão Portuguesa

Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

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Magna Pars Suites Milano

Imagine staying in a former perfume factory, in which the essences of the most varied aromas fill our scent and transport us to places so different, yet so common…

Staying at the elegant and contemporary Magna Pars Suite in the city of fashion, Milan.

Open since 2013, this Small Luxury Hotel of the World is the first hotel of the world dedicated to perfume, much because of its location I dare say. To its structure was added the glamor of the city of fashion, in an area close to the financial and cultural district but with an environment of a true refuge, in Via Forcella, just a few minutes from the train station Porta Genova.

First Impression
In fact, first impressions are everything, and Magna Pars Suites is up to them! The building causes an unpaired impact in our minds with a completely different design from what you’re expecting from a luxury hotel. Its industrial heritage is quite noticeable.


Before getting to the reception we go through several get together spots; nature is a constant presence, with its exuberant central garden.

We realize we’re in a hotel that tells us a story, a story of fragrances that spread and mix in all the environment.

But if your smell is not quite that sharp, as soon as you enter the lobby you have access to different sections with several aromas to test.

The reception itself is small, but serves the purpose, because the important thing here is the surrounding space of the hotel. In it, we have biscuits, juices, and water to relax while doing our check in.

The employee who welcomed us is nice and unpretentious, describing us a bit of the history of the factory/hotel, explaining to us it is divided into three different areas: flowers, fruits, wood, personalized by the different fragrances felt.

The check in is done and after this pleasant talk we are forwarded to our bedroom, or should I call it a loft?!

Bedrooms
There are 39 suites, and they are true lofts, with a contemporary decoration and art pieces capable of pleasing the most demanding of the guests.

The furniture was designed by manufacturers of the Lombardy region and each suite is mostly white, accompanied by sober colors, refined fabrics, leather couches and chairs, glass tables and paintings inspired in olfactory elements.

We stayed in a Prestige Suite with its generous 65m2, and what caught my attention the most besides all the luxury, was the light in the room. With windows replacing the usual walls and totally controlled by home automation, all the room invaded by an intense light and with view to the interior garden, gorgeous, and all the structure of the hotel, as well as the other rooms (we still had a view to a quite peculiar photographic session on the room across ours!!!)


Each bedroom is awarded an olfactory note – floral, fruity or wood, ours was cedar, felt in a subtle and harmonious way around the area.

The location of the suites is also based on the height of the tree they represent.

Effectively, all is thought to the tiniest detail!
High score also to the prosecco and fruit that welcomed us.

Restaurants/Bars
The hotel has two spaces, the DA NOI IN and the Liquidambar.
The first is a restaurant and the second the bar of the hotel.


The DA NOI IN, characterized by a modern cuisine, creative, with the resource to quality products and ingredients, is inspired by genuine Italian recipes, and it’s in the hands of the chef Fulvio Siccardi.

Here the guests can expect an inviting ambiance, with the glamour and elegance of the entire hotel. It’s open not just for guests but also the rest of the public.

Serves lunch and dinner, but also awards us with a wonderful breakfast.

As to the Liquidambar,  it is the most cosmopolitan area of the hotel. It opens to the interior garden in a perfect combination between art and nature, creating a unique environment.

With cocktails, snacks, and wine, it delights all the guests. Here is also possible to book private parties.

Services
The hotel as all the typical services of a luxury hotel, from room service, laundry, wifi, parking, among others.

One of the services that turns Magna Pars Suites unique is being perfect for events, with a total of four rooms to that effect, and a catering organized by the restaurant of the hotel, DA NOI IN.

So, the Magna Pars Event Space, inaugurated in 1991, is located in the ground floor of the building of the former perfume factory, from the beginning of the XX century.

The Magna Pars Suites Milano was renewed and elegantly structured, reinterpreting the original features of the post-industrial building, making it contemporary.


The hotel also has a well-being area, with a properly equiped gym, treatment and relaxation rooms in a symbiosis with the exterior garden.


One of the ex libris of the hotel is its Roof Deck, a terrace with 300m2 prepared for a social event, but also for a conference.

One of my favorite places was the Lybrary Hall & Balcony Hall and the garden. The first one with comfy sofas, where wood is queen allows us to have perfect idleness moments with a good book as companion, the second one assures a unique comunion with nature.


The hotel has a unique area that it’s the motto of the entire history of the hotel, the LabSolue, the lab where all the fragrances we feel in the hotel are created.

The architecture of the space reflects a creative side combined with its heritage. Showing the past of Magna Pars Suites filled with emotions and prestige.

An elegant wood wardrobe stills our attention and in it, we can see the former Marvin Pharmaceutical Lab, the historical cosmetic brand established by  Vicenzo Martone.

Here the guests, and also curious tourists (the laboratory is all in glass next to the street) can appreciate the 39 essences selected for the hotel.


There’s also a small private library in this space, with perfume related artworks, and literature about perfume.

It’s also possible to buy the hotel’s fragrances.

It is for sure a different place with a perfect combination of elegance and history.

Service
At the Magna Pars Suites, we have the feeling of being home, because we walk around the entire hotel freely, almost without noticing the employees. There’s always a nice employee at the reception, but in the rest of the hotel, we don’t see anyone else, apart from the meal time.

This might be a negative point to some guests, but having in account the cosmopolitan and relaxed environment of the hotel, I thought it was interesting.

Magna Pars Suites was a pleasant surprise in Milan, a unique hotel, with an atmosphere that has as much of heritage, as of contemporaneity. A place that charms through smell and astonishes by the decoration.

I must confess I would live in that loft they insist on calling a bedroom!

Arriverdeci Milano!

Magna Pars Suites
Bedrooms from 234€
Via Forcella ,6 – Milan 
+39 02 833 837 99
Info@magnapars.it

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

Disclaimer
We were at Magna Pars Suites by invitation, whereas this does not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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