O Antigo Carteiro

O Antigo Carteiro - 6

In a time when love letters have been substituted by emails and quick text messages (effective though), without the romance and symbolism of the “old” letters, nowadays the post office is just for bills, publicity and certificates, fortunately there are still some love stories passing through the post!

One of them is the story of a former grocery store/tavern, which also served as Post Office on the beautiful Largo do Ouro, transformed, in the mean time, into a restaurant – O Carteiro, and of Hélder Sousa, a neighbor who decided to go from regular client to owner!

Hélder is a man of the Arts and the Theater and with a certain relaxed way, the Antigo Carteiro was born, respecting tradition and the space with which he had fell in love.

Knowing this space from the start, and knowing the ups and downs with which Hélder learned about the restaurant business (there are still those who believe it’s a simple and easy business) it’s good to see the passion still in his face, and of course the evolution of a space and a concept “outside the box”.

Speaking of concept, we can say that Hélder is a freak, one of those freaks with somewhat crazy ideas, so at the Antigo Carteiro the motto is food from Head to Toe, literally speaking, and if possible with a “sassy” touch and strong, sexual emotions!

But on to our visit, before I have to put a +18 warning in the article! The space keeps the original design, with the aspect of a recovered tavern, decorated simply, with red wood chairs contrasting the calmness of the walls. There’s also a terrace that during summer becomes a frantic room, with great environment.

Already installed, we started with a good corn bread, olive oil and garlic mayonnaise, light and tasty.

Laminated Beef Tongue (7€)

There couldn’t be a better way to start the meal, and as consistent with the concept of the space, than with a tongue, perfectly cooked and sliced like a carpaccio. High score to the good seasoning and the contrast created by the ginger and the lime zests, giving freshness to the starter.

Portobello Mushroomsfarinheira (8€)

Greasy and well accomplished combo, with the mushrooms on spot and well involved with the farinheira (type of portuguese traditional sausage), giving the combination an interesting and well balanced sweetness, with the spicy and bitterness of the watercress. Another good starter.

Sausages Rice, Veal cheek (14€)

To warm up the stomach before the main course, we ordered a sausages rice, accompanied with cheeks, previsoulsy split to share among us. Delicious meat, moist and with the right texture for a cheek. Brothy rice and tasty, with greens and sausages, but of which was expected a greater taste of the chartcuterie, being that the main identity of the dish.

Oxtail, mashed potatoes and vegetables (16€)

As main dish, we shared the oxtail, another dish that breathes the identity of the restaurant, with the well prepared and seasoned tail, falling apart from the bone. With simple sides, allowing the meat to shine on its own and in a good contrast with the watercress, which seems to be one of the fetish elements of the menu.

Artisanal Ice Creams, Bacon and rosemary and Blackberry and dill (3€ each)

The ice creams live of the same image of the house, with somewhat sassy combinations, like the one of rosemary and caramelized bacon, which works in the end (Cíntia says that everything works with bacon!), roughly made, no machines, maltodextrin or stabilizers. Still, I prefered the Blackberry one, fresher and less sweet, which for me is the biggest flaw of these ice creams, the excess sugar, but yes, they’re on spot for a nondiabetic gourmand!

The wine list, while not being extense, also intends to respect that freak side of the restaurant, so some less common options are present, and also new producers with bold wines and images. Our meal was very well accompanied by wines of the Herdade do Arrepiado Velho, from Alentejo.

The Service is headed by Hélder, who interleaves dishes with cicerone talk, sympathy and lots, lots of fun, with a staff that also breathes his image and relaxed identity, although with more upstanding hair and beard! It’s hard not to feel joy while listening to Hélder telling his stories and presenting the dishes with strong emotions and language, as in a scenic moment.

Final Remarks 
Seeing the moment that O Antigo Carteiro is living, it’s case to say that the restaurant was reborn, from the will and perseverance of the owner, and also a new cook, the young Rui Oliveira, also breathing the same concept of the restaurant. It’s not, for sure, a consensual space, both for the use of ingredients so many times ignored, or for the relaxation of the space. The dishes transmit strong sensations and flavors, so they’re allowed some mistakes here and there.

To those who see themselves in an upstream space, away from the downtown bustle, it’s for sure a safe harbor. A place for meeting friends, not intending to be surprised by the food or the creative inventions of a chef, but instead comforted by warming dishes, familiar, while enjoying their time, without rush and with emotion, like the good old times of a love letter!

O Antigo Carteiro
Rua Senhor da Boa Morte, 55 – Porto

Versão Portuguesa

 Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

We were at O Antigo Carteiro with a voucher Zomato, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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