Restaurant and Bar
Ideal for working lunches, but the wine cellar and patron’s hospitality will beckon you back when off duty too
THE PORTUGUESE fine dining establishment, PORTAL, was opened in St John Street nine years ago by Antonio Correia. With his son in the role of General Manager and his wife overseeing everything front of house, it is something of a family concern.
Despite coming from a background in textiles, Correia knows his stuff when it comes to wine. He is a collector himself and always keen to advise guests and help them find something to suit their palates. In fact, he is usually summonsed along with – or even instead of – the wine list. Alongside a range of French and Italian, PORTAL offers 70 different Portuguese wines. This is certainly a focal point of any visit.
PORTAL offers three types of dining experience: a set lunch menu – a two or three course meal – with different dishes every week; an à la carte menu; and tapas – petiscos – served at the bar. People at the same table can mix the set menus and the à la carte. The idea is to offer something a little lighter at lunchtime and then a step up in the evenings. The food is Portuguese with a twist, enabling people from all different cultures to understand it. One very popular dish is traditional shoulder steak of Iberian pork, marinated for 18 hours with red wine and vegetables, slow cooked for 12 hours, and served with a sautée of broad beans, chouriço and root vegetable mash. If you really want to push the boat out, a whole suckling pig can be ordered in advance for eight to ten diners to share.
There are a number of different dining areas in the restaurant as well: the informal bar area at the front, perfect for an aperitif; the main restaurant, with its modern Portuguese style; the bright and airy conservatory; and a private room walled with bottles of wine. The atmosphere throughout is convivial, with large tables welcoming regular guests for lunch meetings and parties.