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Portugal Dinner

Porches, March 15, 2014

Out-of-this-world culinary treat for the Bailliage of Algarve

For the second time members and guests of the Bailliage of Algarve had the pleasure to dine at the romantic, cosy and charming 17th century Portuguese country house restaurant known as "O Leao de Porches" in Porches.

The restaurant was taken over by Bianca Salden a Belgian lady from Antwerp in 2005. Bianca was our hostess for the exquisite dinner. The kitchen is led by the young and very innovative Chef Daniel Inacio who is coming on in leaps and bounds.
Daniel spent 3 years from 2009 training in Portimao before obtaining the Lausanne hotelier certificate. As part of his training period he worked at the 5* Vale Da Lapa Resort and at the 5* Vila Vita Parc.

Our menu was selected to be slightly "gamey" to represent the last of the "wintry" months. A good start to the evening was the amuse bouche of a prawn coated with Japanese panko tempura dyed black with squid ink. It had a really exquisite taste especially accentuated by a lovely rosé Brut Espumante from Luis Pato (King of the Bairrada).

The first course was a warm pea velouté which doesn't sound very exotic but was extraordinarily tasty! It consisted of a pea ice cream with copa and Italian Parma ham and a warm creamy pea soup. This extremely successful starter was accompanied by Felipa Pato´s (adventurous daughter of Luis) 2012 Ensaios white wine – also from the Bairrada.

After this unusual and lovely starter we moved on to the home-cured salmon gravlax with cucumber, a touch of Hendricks Gin and kaffir lime. Beautifully presented the salmon was also perfectly partnered by Felipa Pato´s Ensaios.

The fish course was a dream and consisted of freshly-caught Dover sole from Sagres with a warm “salad algarvia” variation, potato and bulhao pato clam sauce. A real delight was the 2011 Pó Poeiro white Reserva Douro which went perfectly with the innovatively prepared sole.

For the main course wild boar tenderloin with smoked chickpea puree, pasta and Chorizo was not too "gamey" but was very tasty and followed on very well from the magnificent sole. Here the accompanying red wine was the 2009 Commendador Reserva from the Alentejo. Although a fairly full wine it was by no means overwhelming.

Daniel’s signature dessert was a truly delicious crème brûlée made from lemon and lemon thyme complemented by a 2011 Late Harvest “Fungus” wine from Bairrada.

It was an outstanding event. At the conclusion of the dinner we called in Bianca and Chef Daniel with their teams to give them a rapturous applause for what was simply an out-of-this-world culinary treat.

Michel Dressler

NB. For anyone who enjoys the highest levels of cuisine the Algarve has to offer and has some charitable instincts the Bailliage would warmly welcome you. If you are interested please contact Bailli Michel Dressler on +351 282 357021 or +351 938 818582