Vinum

vinum2016-11There’s no need for introductions to Vinum around here, it was chosen as “Revelation Restaurant” in the “Flavors & Senses – The Best for 2014” and since then it has been present between the nominees in our several categories. The combo of Graham’s (Symington) and the savoir faire of the Sagardi group has revealed to be a happy partnership, bringing to Porto not only the best meats and cuts, as well as the best techinque in the domain of the parrilla and embers.

But with the recent change of chef – heading Vinum is now Hugo Rocha, who among several starred restaurants passed by the famous Alinea in Chicago – the kitchen started to be in the spotlight alongside the parrilla, always with respect for the products and techniques, faithful to the Basque and Portuguese cuisine.

vinum2016-13In light of this change, we decided to visit it once again and taste some of the most recent suggestions of the menu, now also with tasting menus (50€ + wine supplement).

The ambiance was perfect, nicely seated with a unique view over the two margins of Douro that only Vinum provides, and some sun, so rare in the past month of May.

vinum2016-10It looks like some rosemary was missing in the kitchen! 

We started, and it couldn’t be another way, with the bread, made with traditional flour, still the best artisanal bread in Porto, nicely paired with the olive oil from Quinta do Ataíde. And in a kind of amuse bouche some padrón peppers, showing the Spanish rib of the restaurant quite well.

vinum2016padrón peppers

vinum2016-2Roast beef, parmesan and mustard vinaigrette (16€)
In good time we decided to share some starters! Roast beef, nicely prepared, with the right texture and thickness, in a good combination with the mustard vinaigrette, the toasted pine nuts notes and of course, the flavor of the good quality parmesan. Very good!

vinum2016-3Duck Salad Vinum style (17€)
Another excellent salad, this time with smoked duck, duck rillettes and foie, crunchy toasts, roasted bitter orange and green leafs. A very well balanced dish, with the bitter notes of the orange contrasting nicely with the fat and the small notes of jam in the dish. Excellent Rillette, resulting in one of the best salads in town!

vinum2016-4White asparagus in the grill (22€)
White asparagus, slightly grilled to acquire the the aroma and taste of the smoke, well accompanied by a simple and fresh vinaigrette. A negative just to the texture of the asparagus, once the white asparagus is already a bit tender, here a bit overly tender.

Harmonizing with the starters was the always festive white Altano 2015, fresh, with a light structure that went well with the dishes.

vinum2016-5Codfish Stew, artichokes and clams (26€)
A dish that showcases very well the identity of this “new” Vinum and its respect for tradition and ingredients. Half-cured codfish, to the good Basque way, flawlessly cooked, tasty broth, where the bread wins a place in the competition once again. High score also to the good and succulent clams and the texture and earthy notes the artichoke gave the dish. Worth the visit!

vinum2016-6Duck Magret, foie gras, stuffed tender onion and Grahams Six Grapes sauce (23€)
Wild duck cooked on point, tasty, with nicely toasted skin, missed just on the texture of the piece, a bit more tough than the desired! Excellent adding of the fresh foie chips and the stuffed onion with onion and chives jam, which vegetable and fresh side contrasted very well with the duck, the foie and the Port Graham’s sauce. Probably with another magret it will be a dish to remember.

We accompanied, both the fish and the meat, with a Pombal do Vesúvio 2013, a nicely made wine, with typical notes of Douro and a touch of spices that was particularly happy with the duck.

vinum2016-12 The cheese table with the impressive Stilton of Billy Kevan

vinum2016-8Chocolate and bitter orange (7€)
A way too much classic presentation for a dessert that was a good surprise, with the acidic notes of the orange breaking the sweetness very well and in a good combo with the chocolate.

vinum2016-9Pear in Quinta do Ataíde Bio, icecream (7€)
A safe haven of Portuguese desserts, with the pear perfectly cooked, balanced sauce and sweet enough, nicely accompanied with the icecream and a cookie crumble adding new texture to the dish. Simple and well executed!

With the desserts, and while being in one of the most important Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, we couldn’t miss the Port wines, tasting the Graham’s 20 years, the 30 years (perfect with the chocolate and orange dessert, thanks to its impressive orange notes, acidity and structure) and the LBV 2009, which worked very well with the pear.

vinum2016-7The Port “wine by the glass” trolley of Vinum, with highlight to the beautiful box of the Ne Oublie 

The Service was calm and paused, with rigor and technique in the most necessary moments and relaxed in the right times.

Final Remarks
Vinum is one of those restaurants I’m always pleased to return to, not because I want to be surprised with a more elaborate preparation or an unpredictable proposal, but because I know I can always count on high quality ingredients and simple preparation that rarely is less than flawless. Now with Hugo Rocha in the kitchen we can count on even more secure dishes, able to face its old beef and the parrilla that so many times made me happy with just the right meat, salt, and of course, technique!

It’s not an everyday restaurant, mostly because our wallets would sure feel it, but it’s a mandatory restaurant, from the view to the cuisine, not forgetting the wines.

vinum1214-1

Restaurant Vinum 
Rua do Agro nº 141 (Graham’s Port Lodge), Gaia
+351 220 930 417

Versão Portuguesa

 Photos: Flavors & Senses 

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