Antiqvvm, Rua de Entre-Quintas 220, Porto. Reservations: +351 22 600 0445 or online.
The Michelin man bestowed nine new stars on Portugal last year. One of these went to Vitor Matos: the chef at Antiqvvm in Porto. At €25 for three courses and a glass of wine, we couldn’t resist popping in to take advantage of their exceptionally well-priced executive lunch menu.
As it was winter (and very chilly) we were sat inside, but the arched glass windows meant we still got to enjoy the view across the Douro. The executive menu features two choices for every course, so it’s perfect if you’re a couple and want to taste a bit of everything. After we got settled in our seats, the the waiter swung by with a bread tray. It was loaded with lots of different home-baked goodies to try.
As for starters, Jemma had the lâminas de salmão fumado, texturas de maçã, espuma de beterraba (smoked salmon with textured apple and beetroot foam) while James opted for the sopa cremosa de alheira de Mirandela e cogumelos, brotos de ervilha (cream soup made from Mirandela sausage with mushrooms and pea shoots).
The smoked salmon was absolutely delightful. I’d never thought of pairing it with apple before but the combination worked really well, blending sweet and salty perfectly. James’s soup was served with the dry ingredients in a bowl, and the waitress poured the broth over it to create a rich umami bowlful. As fans of the fry-up know, sausage and mushroom are the ultimate bedfellows.
For mains, James had the peixe manteiga corado em manteiga, estragão, trompetas da morte, creme de acelgas e puré de grão-de-bico (butterfish cooked in butter with tarragon, black trumpet mushrooms, creamed spinach and chickpea puree) while Jemma had the frango do campo recheado com castanhas e presunto alentejano, cremoso de cenoura assada, endívias e torresmos (country chicken stuffed with chestnuts and Alentejo ham, creamed roast carrot, endives and pork rind).
Both plates were very well executed. The chicken was perfect comfort food, really rich and like a big hug from the inside. It felt very Christmassy, especially after the smoked salmon. James’s fish was really good too, perfectly seasoned and the mushrooms were absolutely delicious. I think I preferred the chicken, though.
Neither of us wanted fresh fruit for dessert, so we both went for the queijada de cenoura, mousse de yuzu, chá verde, neve e gelado de requeijão e abóbora (carrot cheesecake with yuzu mousse, green tea, cottage cheese snow and ice cream with pumpkin). It was a delicious end to a wonderful meal, and we particularly enjoyed the ice cream.
We went off-piste and ordered a coffee to finish. This cost €2.50 each, but came with mini pastéis-de-nata on the side. Another added cost was the bottle of water, which I believe was around €2. All in all we spent just over €50 on a very memorable lunch in a Michelin restaurant.
We very much enjoyed ourselves, and understand what the Michelin Guide saw in the place. The eye for detail was exceptional (water and wine were served in Riedel glasses and the cutlery was made by Cutipol). My only criticism would be that it’s a little too quiet… the staff tend to whisper! It’s also best if you know a little bit of Portuguese, as very little of the service took place in English.
If you’re in Porto and want to treat yourself without breaking the bank, pop in for lunch and prepare to leave feeling like the cat who got the cream. Their lunch menu changes weekly: follow Antiqvvm on Facebook to find out what’s currently on offer.
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