November 24, 2012

Lisboa tour 2012: La Paloma

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With a couple of hours to kill before dinner, we decided to arrive early and relax on the outdoor terrace at Pousada de São Tiago.  The 17th century fortress turned hotel seemed an ideal location for us to wrap up our tour of Macau.

While on the terrace, I struggled for a long time to come up with the perfect drink.  It was just before dinner, but I was still full from the combination of lunch and dessert.  I'd already had 2 types of tea since lunch, so I definitely did not need any more caffeine.  Alcohol?  I had pre-ordered wine for dinner and didn't want to get buzzed now.  In the end, I think I gave my friends a chuckle as I ordered a glass of watermelon juice

When I first saw the sign for La Paloma, I was immediately struck by the typeface, which bore a striking resemblance to the one used by Paloma Picasso for her brand.  Curious…

"Pata negra ibérico" ham served with tomato bread and D.O. Arbequina's oil emulsion - the jamón came from Jabugo, and is aged for at least 36 months.  You can see the white tyrosine crystals here… a sure sign of quality.

The pan con tomate was pretty good.

"Piquillo" Spanish red peppers with bacalhau - anytime you put piquillo and bacalhau together, I'm a big buyer of that.  I looooove the combination of the flavors, of the sweet pepper with just a hint of spiciness to pick up the flavors.  Lovely.  The version I had in Taipei wasn't bad, either…

Traditional Spanish roasted veal shank with mashed potato and bone marrow - this was a real hunk of meat… like a big drumstick.

Chef Hector came out to carve the meat for us, and laid out enough for each of us to take 2 pieces.  Definitely more than enough meat here…

The bone was taken away, and returned like this… We were disappointed that we didn't get our bone marrow in chunks.  What worse, it had gotten cold.  Pretty disappointed.

Chef Hector explained the difference between the Valencia and Barcelona styles of making paella, and that he was doing a combination of both.  We asked that he not adjust things to suit the local palate, but rather do it the way he thinks it should be done.

"Paella Valenciana" with clams, mussels, shrimps, squid, chicken, chorizo, onion and bell pepper - plenty of seafood here, along with delicious chicken and some chopped chorizo.

The rice is cooked a little "al dente", but covered with a thick layer of sauce that included lots of caramelized and liquefied onions and peppers.  Flavors here and pretty full-on, but I like it.

"Copa" of chilled strawberries in emulsion of passion fruit, lemon and cava - actually perfect for the end of this meal, as the acidity coupled with the cold temperature here was a really refreshing pick-me-up.

I had picked out this bottle over lunch, and asked for the restaurant to decant it before dinner.  It's been a long time since I last drank a bottle of this wine…

1991 Alejandro Fernández Janus Gran Reserva Pesquera - nose of potpourri, dried herbs, savory minerals, ripe and a little cooked, minty.  Very smooth on the palate with silky, velvety tannins.

Needless to say, we left the restaurant very full and headed back to Hong Kong after a very "fulfilling" two days.  Many, many thanks to the PR team at Hotel Lisboa, and of course to my dining companions KC, Lemon Tea and OL for such wonderful company.

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