A Taberna do Mar is not your typical Portuguese seafood restaurant.
Chef Filipe Rodrigues learned how to cook from his grandparents growing up in the Algarve region, he then went on to work for several Japanese restaurants in Lisbon (helped opening a few) and broadened his techniques along the way. While the ingredients are locally sourced from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the cooking is a combination of Portuguese and Japanese.
The restaurant offers both an à la carte and a 25 Euro tasting menu.
Since this is my first visit, I opted for the tasting menu.
Course #1: Hummus made of lupini beans and mint, on a tortilla smoked with Portuguese herbs and dusted with squid ink powder, for the charred presentation. Interesting…
The herb used in smoking the tortillas and sashimi (in the later course), the chef collected from his home garden.
Course #2: Horse mackerel cured in salt on boiled potato. This was alright. Mostly because I am not a big fan of potatoes.
Course #3: Bigeye tuna cured in soy sauce and moscatel wine, flavoured with lemon peel and olive oil; Home made sourdough bread. Good flavour. love the bread.
Course #4: Dumpling of beef tongue, seaweed and mushrooms in a ponzu and siracha sauce, accompanied by pickled sweet potato. This was the ONLY meat dish on the tasting menu. There were a lot of different tasting notes competing with each other in this dish. A bit confusing IMO.
Course #5: Portuguese herb smoked mackerel sashimi with shiso, mizuna, nasturtium and orange cured egg yolk in ponzu sauce. A refershing plate, shiso pairs well raw fish.
Course #6: Horse mackerel soup made with vegetables, horse mackerel bones, and pimenta da terra – a specialty spice from the islands of Azore – decorated with coriander sprouts. For this I say umami!
Course #7: Meet Xarém – Portuguese polenta from the Algarve, made with cuttlefish stock and wild mushrooms – a flavourful broth; Cuttlefish.
Course #8: Sardine cured with olive oil lemon and garlic on homemade sourdough toast
Course #9: Chef’s version of Arroz de Cabidela – using codfish in place of chicken and instead of blood (one of the key ingredients of a traditional cabidela), the chef used red wine, squid ink and vinegar. I’ve never had the traditional Arroz de Canidela, but I like this imitation.
Course #10: Chef’s signature sardine nigiri – the sardine is lightly seared with a torch and sprinkled with sea salt. Fatty, oily and melt in the mouth. I could have 10 of these 🙂
Dessert #1: Dessert #1 Egg custard made with egg yolk, brown sugar and…can you guess the secret ingredient?
Dessert #2: Carob with mandarin sorbet and almond biscuits
Dessert #3: Cream ice cream with shaved egg yolk; wild berry bread pudding
Dessert #4: As if three is not enough…Sea fennel creme brûlée
14 courses in total, it took a little over two hours from start to finish. The price – 25 Euro – is a good bargain. If you are in the Lisbon area and want something other than traditional Portuguese seafood, this is a good choice.
Reservation is a MUST!
Coming up next: Vista Alegre Museum & Aveiro