Antiqvvm – “Cumplicidades Gastronómicas” Vitor Matos invites Eurico Castro

antiqvvm - 1The Garden and the amazing view from Antiqvvm*

Antiqvvm is one of the latest additions to the increasingly desirable fine dining restaurants list in Porto. After one of the most commented moves in the restaurant scene of 2015, Vítor Matos leaving Largo do Paço in Amarante (*Michelin) to the city of Porto, and the former Solar do Vinho do Porto becoming the new home of one of the most creative and artistic national chefs.

Taking advantage of an invitation to a four hands dinner with Eurico Castro (Restaurante Porta – Bragança), we went to know this new space that promises to stir the city.

antiqvvm - 2The beautiful entrance of the Restaurant*

Following the lovely trail of the romantic, we arrived to the historical building of Solar do Vinho do Porto, which shares the view and the space with the famous gardens of Palácio de Cristal. An historical house, with seducing gardens and an overwhelming view – speaking of view, during summer the garden of Antiqvvm will be, for sure, one of the most desired spaces in town. Inside, remained the original design, with respect for the centenary arcades and pillars, to which were added noble and exquisite materials, transporting us to a more modern and cosmopolite environment.

As a private event, everything worked outside the usual process of starting a meal, with the first wines and snacks served as a buffet. Speaking of wines, the meal was accompanied with wines from Trás-os-Montes, from Mont’Alegre and from Quinta de Valle Passos, two young producers from a region with increasing interest.

The snacks included classics of Vitor Matos, like the cone with ceviche and guacamole, the beetroot macaroon, mini pataniscas (fried pastels), toasts, 3.0 bolas de Berlim (a typical pastry) and smoked patatas bravas. All very good and well prepared! To go with was the Mont’Alegre Classical White from 2015 surprising in its freshness and acidity, and the Valle de Passos White 2014, a wine of elegant floral notes and a good body that immediately asks for food.

From the Baceiro River to the table
Trout, citrus, marinade mousse, roe and sunflower bread 
Already at the table, we started our tasting with a dish from Eurico Gomes, with a basis on Trout, which easily transports me to my dear region of Trás-Os-Montes and to the fishes I so many times fished during my childhood. The flavor of all the elements was good, with highlight to the texture of the trout, slightly smoked and the marinade mousse. Also good the adding of the crème fraîche that restructures our palate to continue the tasting. The mistake with this dish were the proportions of the elements, presenting too much foam to little fish, which caused some of the elements to get lost in the marinade.

Accompaning, nicely, was the white Mont’Alegre 2015, which freshness and acidity were the ideal partner to the marinade.

High score also to the apple and raisins bread served during dinner.

Tribute to  Michel Von Der Kroft (**Michelin)
Terrincho cheese, sage, trompetas da morte 
An homage of Vitor Matos to his Dutch friend passioned about Portugal. A simply looking dish, far from the bold creations of the chef, but full of flavor. Flawless ravioli, with the cheese melting nicely with the delicate Marinhas butter, involving the pasta. The mushrooms (trompetas da morte) gave even more dimension to the combo, in a dish of strong emotions.

Harmonizing was the Valle de Passos white 2014 of which I talked earlier, with the greasiness of the dish fitting perfectly the structure of the wine. Very good!

Sea and Earth
Octopus, peas, charcuterie from Trás-os-Montes, baby potatoes  
With the signature of Eurico Castro, this was the least accomplished dish of the evening, mostly due to the octopus texture, too tough (and I don’t like the octopus falling apart). Also missing some greasiness, a part that the pea cream/paste wasn’t able to perform completely. Positive note to the peppers sauce and the charcuterie dust, which flavors went well with the octopus.

From our Trás-os-Montes tradition “A Lareira” (The fireplace)
Codfish, maronesa veal hand, chickpeas, and Portuguese kale 
After the storm came the calm, with the best dish of the night, a comforting classic reinvented by Vitor Matos. Here, the usual codfish with chickpeas gains dimension and flavor with the adding of the delicate and gelatinous veal hand and its clear and tasty broth, involving all the elements in a very bold combination. Very, very good!

On the glass, we entered the reds territory with a Mont’Alegre Clássico 2013, a fruity and elegant wine that gave the codfish space to shine, efficiently complementing it.

Flavors from Vinhais
Butelo de Vinhais and wild mushrooms 
Myself being in love with Butelo, the casulas and the typical pot dishes from Trás-os-Montes, I gladly see the use of these products, in an attempt to give them a more modern image. And so, Eurico Castro created a good Butelo, boneless and nicely seasoned, combined with a wild mushroom brothy rice that, without being surprising, worked out in a happy and comforting dish.

This dish was accompanied by a Valle de Passos Red 2014, an elegant and well constructed wine.

Bísaro suckling pig belly 2011
Drunken pears, onion pickle, apple, red wine, beetroot, leavened garlic and vegetables 
Another dish from Vitor Matos with a great suckling pig, crunchy skin and soft meat, sided by a series of flavors and textures that elevated it, like the sauce and the leavened garlic. Tasty and well accomplished!

The harmonization was in charge of the Red Mont’Alegre Reserva 2013 in a magnum bottle, a wine with good structure that promises a great evolution.

The sweet garden of my childhood (new version)
Sheep curd cheese, pumpkin, pinions, chestnut, orange and Muscat   
It’s customary to say that less is more, but here all the elements worked, solo and as a team, to form a great dessert. Where the several elements added textures and flavors, from the stronger ones to the sweeter and fresher ones, with the orange and the Muscat giving a balancing freshness to the dish. Technically and visually flawless, showing that at Antiqvvm the desserts won’t be the poor relative of the menu.

In a celebration mode we toasted with a Dalva Muscat 2009 in a Mathusalem bottle, especially bottled for Vitor Matos and to this dinner. A beautiful wine, with a surprising color and an elegant mouth that while not being at its peek, promises a great Muscat harvest to the brand.

Petit fours

The service while not breaking the dinner, had some mistakes, showing some maladjustment! Normal in this type of events that don’t follow the usual alignment of a young room, without its routines completely outlined.

Final Remarks
These 4 hands dinners are always good moments for the chefs to open the doors of their kitchens, relax from the routine of the service and create a different interaction with their teams and clients. In this case, and speacially for me, I was pleased to see this representation of Trás-Os-Montes at Porto, both in the presented wines (which I didn’t know) and in the ingredients so many times used, like the Butelo or the Terrincho Cheese.

The menu had two lines, and the cuisine of Eurico Castro isn’t already at the level of the execution and technique of Vitor Matos, but for sure revolutions are made in little bits, and taking the fine dining to Bragança won’t be an easy task.

As to Vitor Matos, it’s good to see the way he embraced a new project starting from scratch, seeing his artistic and creative vein more euphoric than ever and above all seeing him happy, something that reflected on the dishes we tasted. Him coming to Antiqvvm is good for Porto and the gastronomy of the city.

For sure a mandatory place, in my case, is the desire to return to the restaurant and get to know the menu, where for sure will be some of “daydreams and crazyness” I like so much about Vitor Matos!

R. de Entre-Quintas 22o – Porto
+351 22 600 0445

Versão Portuguesa

 Photos: Flavors & Senses and release (marked with a *)

We were at Antiqvvm by invitation of the organization of the event “Cumplicidades Gastronómicas”,whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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