In the modern world where food is produced en masse in factories, it is refreshing to find one “factory” that is worth taking notice.
Feitoria (which is Portuguese for “factory”) is perched on the banks of the River Tagus, nestled between the historic Tower of Belém and the Discoveries Monument.
The first Portuguese feitoria overseas was established by Henry the Navigator in 1445 on the island of Arguin, off the coast of Mauritania. It was built to attract Muslim traders and monopolise the trade routes in North Africa. It served as a model for a chain of African feitorias and between the 15th and 16th centuries, a chain of about 50 Portuguese forts either housed or protected feitorias along the coasts of West and East Africa, the Indian Ocean, China, Japan, and South America.
The Portuguese feitorias were mostly fortified trading posts settled in coastal areas, built to centralise and thus dominate the local trade of products with the Portuguese kingdom (and thence to Europe).
From the annex of the hotel that resembled an industrial factory, Chef André Cruz nods his chef’s hat towards the great Portuguese explorers of the past as he takes diners on a journey across land and sea.
For many, Feitoria is a compulsory stop for visitors to the Portuguese capital, combining an intrinsic elegance with polished service and cuisine that is constantly evolving. Entering this fine-dining restaurant, you can see a Namban Panel, an authorized replica of the display screen at the National Museum of Ancient Art covered with gold leaf.
It boasts of a dining room with a classic yet modern feel. The metal cubes suspended from the ceiling create an atmosphere of elegance and warmth. The tables are decorated with Portuguese linens with the monogram of the restaurant embroidered, and the window side offers a beautiful sunset view of River Targus: everything is ready for a luxurious and distinctive experience.
8 Passos / 8 Steps / 8 Étapes
Vinho aconselhado / Recommended wine / Suggestion du vin
Chef André Cruz returned to the Feitoria kitchen in 2015, with a greater awareness of the importance of sustainability, proximity to producers, contact and respect for the local produce in its essence.
The creative contemporary cuisine has its roots in tradition and pays full attention to flavours and perfect cooking techniques, hence a dining experience that showcases complicated presentation and skill. The ingredients used here are of a remarkable standard, hence the willingness to showcase these and explain their provenance in detail.
Terra e Mar
Land and sea | Terre et mer
As a homage to the Great Expeditions by Henry the Navigator, Chef Andre has named the first step “Land and Sea”, where each appetiser consists of ingredients from the land and the sea, as well local and abroad.
Firstly, a shot of welcome cocktail called Poncha; this refreshing cocktail was part of the first amuse bouche / appetiser course. It is traditionally made with a mix of rum, citrus juice and sugar (or honey) that’s been “whipped” until frothy with a wooden tool akin to a muddler; it was made made fizzy with soda water for a refreshing starter.
The poncha is a staple on Madeira, a mountainous island off the northwestern coast of Africa that was a Portuguese colony that produced most of the world’s sugar back in those days. And the excess sugar cane was made into rum. Sailors from the 16th and 17th centuries were asked to drink something citrusy in long voyages to avoid getting scurvy. Although not the doctor’s order, these men put some alcohol into it. Rhum Agricole was their first choice because it was found in abundance along the trade routes.
The first appetiser was a mini salad made with ice lettuce, pan-seared a la minute foie gras at the bottom finished with a passionfruit sauce. The passionfruit sauce cut the heaviness from the foie gras and gave a special touch with halophytic herbs that tasted slightly salty.
Two types of beetroots with sea urchin tartar. The quenelle of red beetroot was made from smoking red beetroot for a very long time and softening it so much that it became a gelatinous texture. Then a generous scoop of fresh sea urchin from north of Lisbon was added with tartar sauce and chopped chives. A second beetroot called Georgia was smoked and then picked in vinegar and little strings of it were placed on the sea urchin.
You get the intense sweetness from the red beetroot that balanced with the umami from the sea urchin and balanced off with the tadness of the tartar. The last burst of flavours from the Georgia beetroot complete this amazing amuse bouche.
Chef went to Mexico and brought back inspirations of tacos but made entirely with Portuguese ingredients. The taco shell was made with a local wheat called Berbalo and squid ink. The main protein was local pork ham that was similarly raised like an Iberico, and the topped with pickled onions and sprinkled with paprika.
Although I am not a fan of Mexican food, but the taco was very well constructed, with the right balance of familiar Latin American spices and the sweet, sweet pork. The highlight was the slice of smoke pork ham that was not too salty and full of flavours that can only be Iberico ham.
A warm towel infused verbena essence was provided to clean up after you ate the taco with your hands. And that ended the “first step” of our gastronomic journey.
Champagne Maxime Blin Grande Tradition
Restaurant Chef sommelier André Figuinha has developed a special wine accompaniment for each moment of the menu. First up, a powerful and fresh champagne or sparkling wine with floral and citrus notes. A great balance between freshness and length on the finish. The grapes were manually harvested according to the tasting notes, and went through whole bunch fermentation with selected yeast in stainless steel, resulting a really crisp finish.
Couvert: Bread, Butter and Olive Oil
As an interlude before the next step, we were presented with a bread stick (grissini) with Portuguese iberico ham and chopped chives. A very simple eat that gave the best exposure to the beautiful ham.
The bread course consisted of two types of bread – the one on the left (lying at an angle) was a local white wheat bread and the other was a soft bread with oats, rye, raisin, pine nuts. And two types of butter, unsalted sheep goat butter (right) from Azieton and a cow milk butter from Azores Islands.
Two artisan extra virgin olive oils – Azeitona Verde Azeite biológico (right) which is a Portuguese olive oil from an ancestral olive grove, and Feitoria Bio Organic Azeite Virgem Extra Special Edition from Douro, Portuga.
Tunídeos | lírio e atum
Hamachi and tuna / Limande à queue jaune et thon
The next dish is two types of tunas – a bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna (hamachi) served in two parts.
First part is a piece of local-sourced hamachi about the size of a gunkan sushi that has been salted and cured with citrus, and topped with a smoked mayonnaise and lime “caviar” from the finger lime. The beautifully presented piece of sashimi was served on a bay leaf and bed of rock salt, like a boat floating on the ocean.
The second part was a bluefin tuna tataki served with Schrenckii caviar, hibiscus flower tempura, daikon on a bed of tuna tartare finished with a dressing made from organic soy sauce, fish and seaweed dashi.
Schrenckii Caviar is harvested from a very rare Schrenckii sturgeon produce a caviar cherished for its nutty, buttery flavour, often with rich egg yolk nuances. The aftertaste is long and lingering with purity and depth.
The Portuguese have understood for years that large traps capture bluefin tuna along the coasts of Fuseta, Tavira and Faro. Bluefin tuna fishing in Portugal varies moderately throughout the year with high season is May to June and October. The tuna is leaner than its Japanese and Taiwanese cousins.
Joaquim Arnaud Álvaro Pequenino L 2020
Joaquim Arnaud‘s family members have held properties in the Alentejo area since the mid-seventeenth century. This wine shows very citrusy aromas and flavours, very fresh and a lot of minerals with a dry and austere profile. A good example of the grape variety outside the Minho region with a great price. Have a good bouquet of medium intensity, orange blossom, light orange peel and wet stone.
Wine that presents freshness, minerality and elegance. Direct pressing and cold decanting.
Horta e lavagante do Atlântico
Garden and blue lobster | Potager et le homard bleu
The next step came in two parts as well – a salad with smoked eel and a lobster dish. I could not understand the link between the two partners other than they were both delicious.
While it may look like a simple bowl of salad, every ingredient in the bowl was carefully selected to provide an aesthetic and surprising flavour or texture to the salad. Underneath the edible floral arrangement was fresh zucchini with smoked eel.
I was advised to mix everything up before eating. The dressing was made with pureed zucchini with hints of mint. It was a really delicious salad.
Second part of this course was the lightly poached Atlantic blue lobster with pumpkin puree and foam made from the juices of the lobster head on a bed of different texture of green apple.
The acidity of the green apple helped to balance out the sweetness from the lobster. I didn’t understand the pumpkin puree, which was masala flavour; the pumpkin was sweet and the spicy masala made a very drastic contrast. Too many things on the plate – the natural sweetness of the lobster was drowned in the flavour war.
Geographic Wines Landcraft Loureiro 2022
DOC Vinho Verde Vale do Lima
Geographic Wines make wine from single varietal and single terroir, making small batches with clear, distinctive profile for each. The Lima valley is the birthplace of one of the most iconic grape varieties in the Vinhos Verdes region, named Loureiro. This was bottle No.01248/12000 with a strong Atlantic influence, this variety rises to higher levels of freshness, salinity, aroma and flavour. The entire winemaking process respects the expression of the vines as much as possible.
Bacalhau, caviar fumado e batata raíz de cana
Codfish, smoked caviar and potato | Morue, caviar fumé et pomme de terre
The codfish is not native to the coasts of Portugal. In fact, it comes from the cold waters of Norway and in the olden days, the codfish was salted before they make their way back to Portugal. Hence, the salted bacalhau is as synonymous to Portugal as sardines.
Here, the chef has used fresh codfish and salted it in-house. Hence you don’t taste the saltiness of the traditional bacalhau, just right amount for the modern health conscious diner. The codfish rested on an emulsion of potato, and topped with tuna caviar cured and smoked in-house. It is finished with basil in two texture, deep fried and oil extracted.
I have found a new way to enjoy cod by smoking it like a piece of salmon fillet. The overall balance was delicate and delicious, tilting towards fishiness but neutralised by the basil.
Adega do Vulcao ‘Ameixâmbar’ Colheita Selecionada Arinto dos Açores 2020
IG Açores “Selected Harvest”
A perfect mix of grapes from the Capelinhos area on the island of Faial and the “lajidos” of Criação Velha on the island of Pico. Vibrant palate and marked minerality, where the notes of fine stone are evident. A picture perfect golden colour in the glass and very rich on the palate. It’s full of apricot, but with definite minerality. Excellent as an appetiser and delicious as a complement to seafood and fish dishes. It cut through a creamy light soup wonderfully.
Cozido do mar
Sea stew | Ragôut de la mer
Being a country located by the sea, Portugal does its best to enjoy everything the sea has to offer: the beach, the waves, and, of course, the food. The next course was a fillet of stone bass and goose barnacles from the coastal waters, topped with sea asparagus and (a single leaf of) kale, and finished with a fish stew.
This is the clearest stew I have ever tasted, which looked more like a consommé that was made from the head of the stone bass and infused with a wine from Bairrada that is characteristic by its limestone terroir. Stone bass began to appear on the fine dining table around 2017 because the dining was in need for a good tasting fish. Enter meagre which was renamed to stone bass or salmon bass by smart marketers.
Goose barnacles considered a rare and wonderful delicacy, thanks to their sweet flesh, which tasted like a cross between lobster and clam. Aside from being rich in protein and low in fat and carbs, they contain a host of minerals and vitamins that are considered beneficial to health, including potassium, iodine, selenium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins B1 and B2, and are one of the most expensive seafood that can be sustainably harvested.
This stew was so good that I left nothing on the plate. The fish was flaky but really fresh – not fatty like a codfish but equally satisfying. The highlight was the barnacles; there were only three pieces but I savoured carefully every one of them and wished for more.
Adega Marel Tonico Vinho de Talha Branco
No 0261/1200 Antão Vaz, Diagalves, Roupeiro, Manteúdo, Perrum
Grandfather Tonico and his friends get together every day to have a small glass of wine, a ritual they called “copinho”, to catch up and strengthen their friendship. To honour this tradition, Vinho de Talha was made. To each clay pot, they’ve added the richness of the multiple native varieties present in the old vineyards. This wine is a result of the generous knowledge sharing between generations, expressing the living memory of this land and its traditions.
Visually it is yellow, light gold, and shiny. The aroma is intense and delicious. The earthy impact of the clay from the amphora mixes up with notes of ripe fruit, orange compote, marmalade and pear. Rich and intense. Time in the glass renews the earthy notes and complexity. The mouth is intense and multi-textured. It has an evident unctuousness, that is counter-balanced by the firmness of elegant but present tannins. The acidity is alive and surprisingly sapid, bringing balance and an enormous length. It ends long and very complex.
A wine that goes together with good conversations. The rich structure and broad volume in the mouth allows a pairing with a wide variety of delicacies at the table. Faithful to its traditions, proudly accompanies the regional dishes like “Caldo de Bacalhau” (Cod Broth) or “Caldo de Peixe da Ribeira” (River Fish Broth). It also goes very well with grilled meats, given its rich structure.
Gamba do dia e arroz de cogumelos
Shrimp, rice and mushrooms / Crevette, riz et champignons
The next step was a shrimp and mushroom combination. The fresh shrimp sat on a sauce made from the head juices, accompanied with chanterelle mushroom and topped with espuma of mushrooms.
The shrimp was accompanied with a side of mushrooms sautéed with cognac and stewed with rice. The quenelle of Carolino rice was so rich and flavourful that it doubled as a sauce for the shrimp, which did not need it because of its tiny bit of sauce on the bottom.
Portuguese are the largest consumers of rice in Europe, and Portuguese Carolino rice a native short-grain variety that’s similar to the Italian Arborio. The chef left “one more bite” in the pot as he knew that I would be looking for more of that rich, flavourful rice.
Quinto do Monte d’Oiro TInta Roriz 2019
Finally the first of two reds of the evening. Quinta do Monte d’Oiro is located in Lisbon and its history dates back to the 17th century, when it already produced remarkable wines. In 1986, it was acquired by the gastronomic connoisseur José Bento dos Santos, responsible for the replanting of the best plots of the vineyard, aiming at the cultivation of grape varieties that give rise to the best wines in the world, in the European style.
Tempranillo is the most important red grape in Spain, with the largest planted area. It is a very old grape variety, which due to its high quality has spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and is also very important in Portugal, where it is better known as Tinta Roriz.
The Tinta Roriz singlecaste is another wine of the Monte D’Oiro house awarded by Robert Parker. A Lisbon red wine with gene and soul, with a fierce character in the mouth. Aroma of a young red wine and full of life. Some barrel well integrated in the black and red fruit in a very spicy background. In the mouth a strong character in the medium body, very lively tannins and properly polished, perfect for the table.
Monte DOiro Tinta Roriz is a wine that accompanies from cod and octopus, meats cooked slowly, in roasts, stews or stews, a good feijoada or cooked to the Portuguese.
Carne, cenouras biológicas e cacau
Meat, organic carros and cocoa / Viande, carottes biologiques et cacao
One of Chef André Cruz‘s new dishes for this season – local three year-old beef, heirloom carrots, chocolate and blueberry.
The carrot was prepared three ways – stewed as a whole carrot, mashed into a quenelle and chopped and mixed with chocolate.
The beef came from local cattle farmers, and these cows were left to grow for longer period, resulting a more intense and beefy flavours that dry ageing can never achieve. It was served pink to red as overcooking will destroy this precious piece of meat.
The sauce was made the au jus from the beef with a hint of chocolate. The beef was tender and juicy despite the longer breeding period; we wereconditioned to believe that beef is best when young, now I want to seek the “holy grail” of beef – the mature beef.
Nicolaus Autalmeida Monte Xisto Orbita 2020
It’s difficult to find a winemaker who knows the different grapes, terroirs, climates and altitudes that coexist in the Douro Valley as well as João Nicolau de Almeida. Son of the creator of the most famous Portuguese wine Barca-Velha, he’s one of the most relevant figures in the Douro wine region. Among his most important contributions was identifying the 5 most appropriate red grape varieties for the area and the introduction of top-planting and vine mechanization. In his obsession with terroir, it’s taken him 12 years to assemble plot by plot the 40 hectares that today make up Quinta do Monte Xisto. A rocky terrain, full of schist at 200 and 300 meters of altitude, comprising 10 hectares of vineyard, which, thanks to extensive care from Joâo and his sons, allows high-quality wines to be produced.
Quinta Do Monte Xisto Órbita Tinto is proof of this exhaustive work, a red wine made from the Touriga Nacional grape varieties with small percentages of other red varieties. The growing philosophy is organic with biodynamic principles and grapes are harvested by hand and transported to the winery in 20 kg boxes. The whole bunches are crushed in open-air granite tanks called ‘calcatorium’ and fermentation takes place in a cement tank with native yeasts for 6 days. The wine then ages in 2,000-liter cement tanks and 600-liter oak barrels for 18 months.
Deep opaque purple. Red fruit and spice nose. Bold red, dry fruit with underlying, understated spices and plentiful, almost smooth tannins on the palate.
Gelado de malagueta, frutos vermelhos biológicos, leite de cabra, chocolate e avelã
Chilli pepper ice cream, organic red berries, goat milk, chocolate and hazelnut / Glace au piment, fruits rouges biologiques, lait de chèvre, chocolat et noisette
Three-step finish for the dessert – an ice cream, a panna cotta and a chocolate truffle.
Chilli pepper ice cream made with cow’s milk and organic red berry sauce. The slightly spicy and numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorn surprising worked with the sweet milk ice cream. The berry sauce balanced the spiciness in a way.
Goat milk panna cotta with organic berries infused with cardamon. The goat milk needed some getting to use to.
Chocolate mousse and hazelnut toffee with salt and coffee to finish.
Vallado Porto 20 Years Old Tawny
For the more experience drinkers, there is always an argument to choose between a younger or an older aged tawny but according to the wine experts the perfect ageing for a tawny is the 20 years old blends. It’s not too young or too old and the wine batches used for this wines have already achieved the perfection.
I suppose I fully fell in love with Feitoria, this is clearly a place that is all-in. Traditional, 100% Portuguese ingredients inform a high-wire cuisine set to compete on bigger stages.
Doca do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon, 1400-038, Portugal
Tel : +351 21 040 0208
Visited Aug 2023
Michelin Portugal Edition 1 Star 2012-2023
World’s 50 Best Discovery
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