Alma : outstanding culinary journey in an immersive restaurant in Lisbon
Let us be honest, Pointus has had the chance to explore and experience some remarkable places on this little planet of ours. But rarely have we seen such an impressive, immersive, well-crafted eating environment as Henrique Sá Pessoa’s Alma restaurant in Lisbon. Raw concrete grounds, magnificent hundred-year old arches, airy ceiling, magnificently-detailed warm wooden tables and chairs, coppery glows and warm lightings all add up to build a truely hypnotising, mysterious yet absolutely chic atmosphere. This perfect setting comes with high expectations for the food itself, as you can witness from the open kitchen the slight tension of the team, warming up as service begins.
Assiettes & Verres
Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa describes his own style as influenced by his passion for travel and particularly Asia, traditional Portuguese cuisine, the life in Lisbon and the respect of great products. Each of these influences translate into a very modern, sometimes quite adventurous cuisine, where portugal meets Japan in particularly well designed plates in which every element seems essential. Today’s « Alma » menu, which is proposed at a price of 90€, was composed of the 5 following dishes:
- Glazed baby carrots, goats cheese, dried fruit bulghur, cumin oil
- Seared foie gras, apple, granola, almond, coffee
- Red mullet, xerém, « caldeirada » sauce, samphire
- Confit suckling piglet, sweet potato purée, pak choi, orange jus
- Dessert Mango, passionfruit, coconut, black sesame seeds
The chef throws an impressive series of additional plates including 3 appetizers and 2 pre-desserts, which all make for one of the best food-for-value starred dinner we have ever done.
To accomodate for the pescitarians, you will also see the following dishes on the pictures:
- Mackerel, vegetable escabeche, mussel and barnacle water, sea lettuce
- Tuna loin, beetroot pickle, radishes, creamed parsley, toasted buckwheat
One special mention to the seared foie gras, a gourmand salty/sweet marvel where torrefied coffee notes elevate a perfectly cooked foie gras, which probably makes for the best foie gras-based dish we have had… and this is coming from two Frenchies ! Another special mention will go to the tropically-infused and particularly visual dessert, where a mix of at least 5 different textures (mousse, ice cream, crumble, dome, chips,…) combine for an absolutely blissful masterpiece.
On the wine-side, the pairing is a must-do to get to this discover the vastly underrated Portuguese wines, like this surprising Vicentino in which the proximity of the grapes to the ocean translate into a fresh and salin sauvignon that will instantaneously make you feel like you have you feet in the sand. The wine pairing clearly gears towards organic, rather adventurous and character-heavy wines, with a deep respect for its terroir.
To conclude : Alma is an outstanding culinary journey in an immersive, history-field atmosphere. Probably one of the best ways to discover and experience the best of Portugal’s sophisticated refinement, which is rooted in its rich history but more importantly looks to the future in proudness and confidence.
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