Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lisbon's BICA DO SAPATO goes from weak to winning in one night (8-15-13)

We thought that Bica do Sapato was about a 1/4 mile down the quay from our ship, so off we walked and then wandered aimlessly for 20 minutes until hopping in a cab.
5 Euros and 4 minutes later, the driver dropped us one block in the opposite direction of our ship facing the Ryndam's dining room where Bica do Sapato stood, unmarked, on the quay.
Well known local chef Manuel Ries has partnered with often Lisbon resident, John Malkovich to create a trendy yet not noisy or overbearing scene here on the Tagus River. Our first server seemed a bit confused but we eventually got the adorable Alex (Alexandre) who helped us choose both food and wine.
Olives, breads, butter and liver pate arrived. I was happy as we ordered a bottle of FAGOTE 2001 Riserva from the Douro region (yes, we could not resist the name) made from Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho (okay, more new varietals). Crisp, melon, dry and fresh with a steely no-oak taste it was great with CLAMS "Bulhao Pato" a bowl of tiny razor clams in garlic-wine sauce, CODFISH TARTARE with Pennyroyal (???) which was a bit too bland for our tastes and very nice croquettes of VEAL called VEAL SOFT PIES made with veal, chorizo and bacon.
We were not thrilled with these, but then the two main courses arrived:
Grilled OCTOPUS with crushed potatoes and turnip tops is one of the best octopus preparations on earth. Three 7-inch long tentacles are pyramided on top of the potatoes and tasty turnip greens for a brilliant flavor match.
DUCK PIE sounds simple but is a perfect blend of duck confit with rich bechamel ina divine crust. It comes with a small salad to cut the richness.
We moved on to the FAGOTE red 2008 Riserva which is made from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga France and Tinta Barroca. More new varietals blended like a Rhone with an aromatic perfume, yet strong tannins for flavor and spice. WOW!
Dessert was also a huge hit here with my FIG TARTE TATIN made from fresh local figs with a White Chocolate and Lime Mousse and Strawberry Sorbet. YUM. The only thing that made it better was the Sandeman 2007 Late Bottled Vintage Port I had.
Will's PASSION FRUIT PIE came with Mulberry Sorbet & White Chocolate. His Taylor's 20 Year Tawny was like golden raisin infused nectar and oh so intense.
It was our last taste of Portugal, but one we shall remember.

Off to Spain....and Gibraltar.