I will share a secret
I am sat at a table overlooking the courtyard garden of the new Lumen Hotel in Lisbon. It is a place for those who enjoy clean lines and a modern and elegant decor. My table is at the brand new Clorofila restaurant. I am here by myself and my job is to taste the food and wine and write about it. All very straight forward and it suits me to be alone as I can focus on my notes, the tastes, textures and presentation of the dishes. As I walk in I had been expected and was taken to my table by the lovely Gonçalo, who was assisting me and answering every question I had. He tells me how exciting it is to work at Clorofila with its concept which is sharing their healthy and exquisite food based on local produce.
I think of the word sharing and as I am here by myself today, I will focus on the food rather than imagining a table full of friends sharing and experiencing what comes from the kitchen and its absurdly talented chef.
I look at the menu and decide to give Gonçalo the responsibility to amaze me. He chooses then, the food and the wine. We go through every ingredient and while we chat, a cute plate of panko breaded red onion rings and crudités with Greek yogurt and chives as well as the dried leek nest with vegetable brunesa, beetroot couli and creamy velvet make their way to me. The first word that comes to mind is fresh. This is fresh produce and it is delicious. Still, I had hardly started and was indeed very impressed by the simplicity yet elaborate elements in every tiny detail.
My starter arrives beautifully presented with plenty of edible flowers and dotted pistachios and, again, Gonçalos's choice was impeccable: the black pig croquettes, which I am still kicking myself for not eating them all. Absolutely delicious. To balance the starter, the main was fish. I had the clam fried cakes, lime rice and roasted garlic mayonnaise. All perfectly balanced with the white wine from the Alentejo region selected for me.
It was time for pudding and that was the only time I, kindly, declined Gonçalo's suggestion and went with my all time favourite: créme burlée. But at Clorofila that would be just way too straight forward. My brulée came with a tangy mojito sorbet and chocolate sand. Gorgeous.
Clorofila is still a bit of a secret in Lisbon. It is too new to be known everywhere yet. But who doubts this place will be a favourite amongst the ones who love flavoursome and healthy food? I looked at my notes and thought it was just as well I was here on my own, so I could write down every detail and miss nothing at all. Had I being with friends, I would probably had been too carried away with the deliciousness of the food to even bother writing it down. Job done and what a pleasure!