portobay - 33At the newest PortoBay Liberdade (see article), a new 5 star Hotel in the agitated Av. da Liberdade, emerges a restaurant with the signature of Benoît Sinthon (*Michelin, Il Gallo D’Oro) that breaks all barriers of luxury and the most exquisite standards of Hotel restaurants, inspired in the new wave of French Bistronomie, promising an high quality cuisine in an informal environment, typical of the old Bistrôs.

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Benoît’s inspiration doesn’t follow the more contemporary lines of the new “Kings” of Bistronomie, like the Septime, the Frenchie or the David Toutain, instead a signature cuisine more open and uncomplicated similar to Yves Camdeborde’s, founder of the concept, nowadays at Le Comptoir du Relais.

The decoration of the space follows the well accomplished lines of the Hotel, with highlight to the beautiful cellar that serves as entrance to the restaurant, and the patio, decorated with lemon and olive trees, and a beautiful tile panel by Joana Rêgo,  where we seated.

The welcome was given with a Bairosa sparkling and an excellent bread basket, which origin I would bet to be a French bakery; accompanying, a good butter and an impeccable chicken paste with curry.

bistro4 - 1Ceviche

We started with the appetizers (5€ each), divided into Hot and Cold, and we opted by a Ceviche made with Corvina (croaker) with some beautiful sweet potato chips and also light details of sweet potato puree. Good presentation and textures, just missing the onion and a bit more acidity.

bistro4 - 2Quail legs

In terms of hot appetizers we chose quail legs breaded with panko; masterful frying skills, crunchy, without excess oil and the meat on spot. However, the highlight was the excellent sweet and sour sauce of Asian inspiration that came with the legs, a delight!

bistro4 - 3Limpets in the skillet, Bolo do Caco flat bread and garlic butter (14,5€)
There’s not much to say about this dish, it was flawless, from the cooking of the limpets, to the butter, garlic and herb sauce and the bolo do caco (typical bread from Madeira) accompanying the dish. I could spend the rest of the meal around these limpets.

bistro4 - 5Pâté en Croûte Maison, pickles, celery and mustard puree (13,5€)
Careful presentation of a French cuisine classic that brought me good memories of a brilliant Pâté en Croûte I ate in a restaurant of Alain Ducasse; impeccable filling, right temperature and a good introduction of the pistachio. A less positive note to the dough that should’ve cooked a bit more in several parts. Also excellent were the pickles and the combination of the celery puree with traditional mustard, which acidity and freshness worked very well with the fat and greasiness of the tureen.

bistro4 - 6Prawn Omelet (13,5€)
As I said in this blog before, I’m picky with omelets, I like its interior to be a bit liquid without brown tones on the outside. I had some doubts here when I read in the menu it was drizzled with shellfish sauce, but we decided to go for it. And in good time we made that decision, the omelet came exactly as I like it, creamy with a light exterior. The sauce worked with basis on a bisque, went well with the eggs, enhancing the shellfish taste without overlapping.

bistro4 - 7Fish and shells (18,5€)
Presented in an elegant La Creuset pan, this dish was some kind of fish stew, with all the elements perfectly cooked, from the corvina to the clams and the potatoes. The biggest highlight goes to the broth, with shellfish and fish notes that polished the dish with its flavor and the way it united all the elements.

Accompanying this and the former dishes, and very well, was a Madrigal 2013 (8€ the glass), from Quinta do Monte D’Oiro (in the wine list said 2011), a wine made with the Viognier caste, with a quite expressive note and a unique minerality that allowed it to harmonize nicely with the dishes.

bistro4 - 8Veal Cheek Confit, stewed lentils (19€)
It was the least accomplished dish of the night, not by flaw on taste or the cheek, great by the way, but for the texture of the lentils, still too tough and crunchy for my taste. Al dente, but not so much!

Accompanying the Cheek was a red wine, Terrenus 2011 (8€) of Rui Reguinga, a powerful wine, of complex aroma and soft tannins with a long ending, combining pretty well with the flavors of the stew.

bistro4 - 9Cheeses, Azeitão, Amarelo da Beira Baixa and Vaca Curado (3 cheeses 12,5€)
A simple but well-presented selection of some national cheeses, with highlight to the Amarelo da Baixa. A department in need of more attention and highlight, once in a Bistrô.

bistro4 - 10Passion fruit bundle, Banana Panna cotta (6,5€)
Usually the desserts are the weakest chapter of the majority of our restaurants, but fortunately that was not the case of Bistrô4. From the careful presentation, we traveled to Madeira, with the banana and the passion fruit in a brilliant texture game. The bundle filled with sagu and passion fruit was perfect, well matched with the crunchy of the biscuit, the sweetness of the coconut and the freshness of the passion fruit, all connected by an elegant panna cotta that hid the bottom of the plate. Very, very good.

bistro4 - 11Choc “Snick” Ben (6,5€)
For this dessert, Benoît Sinthon’s inspiration were the famous snickers, here reinterpreted in an elegant chocolate bar with all its elements constructed in a different and less sweet way, well accompanied by a pineapple sorbet that completely overwhelmed me. Another excellent dessert.

The wine list presents an excellent selection with highlight to the main national references, but also with some foreign ones, and of course, an excellent selection of Madeira wines.

The service went as Bistronomie dictates, in a relaxed and professional way with joyful and funny moments, breaking the barriers between the guests and the staff.

Final Remarks
The “arrival” of Benoît Sinthon to the continent itself is a cause for joy of the agitated gastronomy scene of Lisbon. His signature takes us travelling through the world, with an obvious scale in France, from where he imported the concept of this space, passing through “his” Madeira and also through Brazil. Heading the kitchen is another man from Madeira, João Espírito Santo, who along the meal demonstrated an excellent technical domain and refined taste.

It was an excellent meal, characterized by some excellent moments that in no way were overridden by the small mistakes of one or another dish. It is a recent restaurant that achieves very well what it is asked for, breaking the rules of the usual Hotel restaurants, facilitating the approach to all types of clients, guests of the hotel or not.

As to ourselves, we can only hope for a return to Lisbon to see the news Benôit will bring in the future.

Bistrô4 – Hotel PortoBay Liberdade
Rua Rosa Araújo 8, 1250-195 Lisbon
+351 210 015 700

Versão Portuguesa

We were at Bistrô4 and PortoBay Liberdade by invitation from the PortoBay group, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

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