Miguel Castro e Silva returns to Porto with José Guedes at the Casario restaurant, in the Ribeira neighbourhood.
Those who come and cross the river/ By the Serra do Pilar/ See old houses/ Which stretch as far as the sea…” “Porto Sentido”, a famous song by Rui Veloso with words by Carlos Tê, has changed its visage, and the houses – the “casario” – are no longer old, they’ve been renovated, with new colours and uses. Casario is also the name of Miguel Castro e Silva’s and José Guedes’ new restaurant at Gran Cruz House, a boutique guesthouse on Rua do Cimo do Muro, which traverses part of the traditional houses of Porto’s Ribeira area. The 17th-century building was once a private residence, a coffee and chocolate warehouse and home to the Os Ribeirenses collective. Now, it has been painstakingly restored with stone and wood, wicker chairs, nooks by the windows, soft colours and lighting and a terrace overlooking the Douro River, the D. Luís Bridge and the Gaia slope on the opposite bank.
Miguel’s work and career speak for themselves. With no need to confirm that he was one of the first to create Portuguese haute cuisine or recall his pioneering restaurant Bull & Bear in Porto, he does mention that he’s the only Portuguese chef with three dishes in the culinary bible, Larousse Gastronomique. However, this current project is a team effort with José Guedes, who has worked with Miguel for the last six years at the De Castro Gaia restaurant, at Espaço Porto Cruz. When they work together, Miguel confesses he tends towards the traditional, while José focusses on the contemporary. The result is a fusion of two visions, which, according to José, makes Casario somewhere with “comfortable Portuguese dishes with a delicate approach”
Their partnership goes back a way. José says that they try to make the best contemporary Portuguese food, without fundamentalism. This means having foie gras, because of the rather obvious combination with port. There are à la carte options, while the tasting menu offers a choice between five and seven moments. The shorter version offers marinated sea bass with fresh herbs, squid, shiitake and onion with smoked broth, cod “like” Gomes de Sá, rocket rice with cockles and almond mille-feuille with Serra cream cheese and red fruit sorbet. Most of the wines hail from Quinta do Ventozelo, which belongs to Gran Cruz, some with blends by Castro e Silva
Casario \\\ Viela do Buraco, 19, Porto \\\ +351 22 662 270 \\\ grancruzhouse.pt
by Augusto Freitas de Sousa
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