Paparico

Getting out of the usual routes of restaurants in Porto, normally between downtown and Foz (river mouth), arises Paparico , breaking the rules and showing that is possible to have success where least expected. Located in Costa Cabral street, close to the church of Areosa, the restaurant stays in a small and antique building, that was recovered by Sérgio Cambas (the young owner) keeping its original features and being capable of hosting 40 people.

The space is small and cozy, with a classic decoration that takes us to our grandparent’s dining rooms and to a very different environment from the outside. In order to enter you have to knock on the door, because Sérgio wants us to feel at home (just the key is missing, of course). Highlight to the bar that gives access to the dining room, where is possible to give life to the Epicurean that lives inside us with the best selection of Scottish distillates, gins and cigars that Porto has to offer.

Showing us the table, Sérgio Cambas (that is also Head waiter and also passed through the running of the kitchen, talk about a one man show) gives us his concept of sharing the starters and the main courses (all for two people), while presenting the cold starters that awaited in the table, Cod salad, arouquesa veal tureen and a cheese of Azeitão, that we ended up denying.


Cod Salad, crispy Broa de Avintes, onion and parsley (7,5€)
Nice presentation with an interesting interpretation of the classic, with quality cod, well desalted and with generous pieces,  good contrast with the texture of the crunchy Broa de Avintes. An excellent start.


Arouquesa Veal Tureen, Port wine and fennel (5,5€)
If the cod was good, this starter was even better, tureen prepared with the livers and wrapped in a Port gelatin, transporting us to a Portuguese version of Hester Blumenthal’s tangerine. Nice creaminess of the tureen working well with the sweet side of the Port and rustic toast of good quality.

While waiting for the warm starter, we took revenge with the good bread and the fresh olive oil from Quinta do Vale Meão.


Game Alheira, Asparagus, mushrooms and ovo roto (9€)
The starter was gently made to be shared by the two guests, in a well presented combination of good quality ingredients. Nice game alheira and the mushrooms and asparagus cooked on spot, with all the elements very well connected by the yolk. Comforting.


Veal loin, marrow sauce and wild edible mushrooms (36€ 2px)
I’m already getting used to the mess of names where the mushrooms are involved, always named prettiest than the reality, like the edible mushrooms here being in reality mushrooms of several types and which wildness would be questionable. Common mistake. As to the dish, everything was right on, the meat of great quality, cooked on spot and the texture as good as its flavor. The marrow sauce joined by the mushrooms was good by itself, great sauce, without doubt. To go with, the no less remarkable mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, excellent creaminess and flavor of the puree working very well with the sweetness of the onion and the light flavor of the cumin. Great dish.


Deconstructed lemon tart
A version of the classic lemon meringue pie, with lemon curd, meringue, suspiro, crispy cookie and a nice sorbet, resulting in a fresh combination, little sweet and high acidity which does not make it an easy dessert for everyone. However it is an excellent end to a heavy meal.


Chocolate mousse
The less well accomplished dish of the night, with the mouse presenting a texture closer to the ganache without air and lightness. The remaining elements where good, but the combination needs plight.

The wine list is one of the highlights for Paparico, with excellent options, carefully chosen by Sérgio Cambas (who else) and his sommelier. The references are many, with the availability of several crops for the same wine in a very organized list. The Service completes the wine offer and everything is in place to assure it is one of the best in the country. We accompanied our meal very well with a 2009(?) CARM Reserva.

The Service is like the wine list, meticulous and professional, the client is well pampered and no detail is left to chance, being in several aspects at the same level or above many restaurants with stars in the red guide.

Final Remarks
There are few spaces like this Paparico and maybe even less people like its owner. The concept of Portuguese traditional food with great quality ingredients, benefiting with modern techniques and new clothing, it’s a right bet that in few places is more successful than here. The space lives of Sérgio Cambas passion that captivates and wins the heart of the tourists (he’s fluent in several languages) and the Portuguese hearts, in an unique way of hospitable mastery. It’s not a cheap restaurant or one for the everyday life, but an exclusive place that deserves a visit, where the traditional cuisine is not confused or battered.

As far as I know, they’re also travelling to Porto’s downtown, with the opening of a Cervejaria Portuguesa, we’ll be waiting.

O Paparico
Rua de Costa Cabral 2343, Porto
+351 225 400 548.

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  • By Cervejaria Brasão on July 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    […] area nobody wanted to go to, and transformed it into Paparico, our Restaurant of the Year in 2014 (see). Sérgio is a chef, sommelier, cicerone and entrepreneur and does all that in the most correct and […]

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