Restaurant Astória – Intercontinental Hotel Porto

Astoriaoutono - 14We were invited by the Intercontinental Hotel to get to know the new Autumn/Winter menu of the Restaurant Astória, with the signature of Pedro Sequeira (Nominated for Chef to Watch in the Flavors & Senses Awards – The Best for 2015). A menu inspired in the season, where mushrooms, tubers, chestnuts and game were not forgotten, with the clear goal of respecting the products seasonality.

Astoriaoutono - 2Already in the beautiful dining room of the restaurant (classical inspiration, following the design of the Hotel), we are welcomed with a nice tonic Port, prepared next to us. With it came the couvert with a good olive tapenade, an unexpected egg yolk, cooked at low temperature, herb butter, olive oil from Trás-os-Montes and a small selection of breads.

And then the starters of the new menu arrived, starting with a Topinambour Cream with marinated mackerel and truffle air. A trio that worked very well separately, while in combination the mackerel was a bit lost, overlapped by the truffle air, which combines very well with the cream.

Astoriaoutono - 3

Topinambour Cream with marinated mackerel and truffle air

Astoriaoutono - 5Game Alheira  in an autumn nest with wild mushrooms
Followed a dish where autumn is well represented, with a very delicate presentation. Good quality alheira (Portuguese sausage), mushrooms on point and a very crunchy nest. It missed, in my opinion, a bit more greasiness connecting all the elements, once the yolk cooked at low temperature, with its gel like texture, couldn’t embrace all the elements.

Astoriaoutono - 6Confit Foie gras in Port wine, warm pistachio cake, hazelnut cream and cocoa
The most creative and risky dish of the evening was visually the least appealing of the presented dishes. Well-cooked Foie, and good texture, with subtle notes left by the wine, worked well with the hazelnut cream and the bitterness of the 100% cocoa, missing however some acidity to break the fat of the dish.

Accompanying, nicely, these last two starters, a Douro Muscat Reserva 2014 from Quinta do Portal. Especially with the foie, where the acidity, the dried fruits and citric notes helped completing the dish.

Astoriaoutono - 7Sea Bass cooked in Sea water, oyster risotto and lemongrass air
The best achieved dish of the night, with a flawless bass, a rice with plenty sea flavor, well complemented with the fresh notes of the lemongrass. High note also to the small cubes of gelatin made with shellfish, presenting us with even more maritime flavors. Great.

Harmonizing, a mineral and tropical Alvarinho Soalheiro 2014.

Astoriaoutono - 8Venison tenderloin, mashed chestnuts, wild mushrooms and raspberry sauce
Another dish that breaths autumn, with a moist venison and cooked on spot, the mushrooms once again well prepared, and the chestnut, in terms of texture, I would rather have it in a cream/puree so it could involve all the elements. A good combo with elements that connect nicely and well complemented with the light acidity of the raspberry.

In the glass, a Douro Red, Portal Reserva 2011, a wine which ripe fruit and excellent acidity connected very well with the dish.

Astoriaoutono - 9Tiramisu, marinated strawberries and coffee ice cream
The desserts where one of the strengths of Pedro Sequeira’s menu, with this version of tiramisu deserving praise. Sugar in the right amount, without excess coffee flavor and very well complemented with the freshness of the strawberries and the coffee ice cream. Very good.

Accompanying a Muscat from Setúbal, Quinta da Bacalhôa 2012.

Astoriaoutono - 10V4 Chocolate Cake, ice cream duo
A Cake with four textures of chocolate, nice details of well-tempered chocolate, ganache, mousse and a flourless cake, a proper combination for Chocoholics, in which the several textures work well among themselves and are accompanied by two great ice creams, of mint (giving freshness and some lightness to the dish) and rhubarb, which transports us to autumn once again. Sinful!

We ended, and quite well, with a Port LBV 2009 from Taylor’s, excellent with a chocolate dessert.

Astoriaoutono - 11Petit fours and TWG green tea

Final Remarks
After a somehow troubled beginning, Intercontinental found in Pedro Sequeira the ideal Chef for its restaurant, the Astória. In the kitchen is noticeable an evolution and greater confidence since our last visit. In this new menu, and despite one or another dish needing some details sharpened, the young Chef is able to easily transport us to that autumn environment, with good ingredients and good technique, showing why he’s one of the most promising chefs in the city.

High note also to the Service that much evolved since our visits in the past.

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Restaurant Astória – Hotel Intercontinental Porto
Praça da Liberdade, 25 Porto

Versão Portuguesa

Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses with the amazing Sony A7S

We were at Astória for the press presentation of the new Autumn/Winter Menu, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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