We arrived at Tapabento dead on 7 when they opened and thank goodness we’d booked as plenty of people were arriving and the place was soon full.
Tapabento have two restaurants, Tapabento Trindade (which is an area of Porto) and has an à la carte menu, whereas TB SBento is more of a tapas bar and is down by the river, central Porto – note that this one is closed on a Monday, sadly we found this out when we hoped to have a late lunch before our flight home.
The three of us shared two starters. The first was scallops, one each with a crispy, Papua New Guinea vanilla topping, samphire and kiffir lime. It was very flavoursome.
The second starter was Burrata, scented in lavender, garlic & pennyroyal (a minty herb), gazpacho, pecan ice-cream and apple bread. A shiny copper pot containing a ball of burrata (mozzarella & cream) which was light and creamy, almost mousse-like. Sadly we couldn’t taste the lavender. On a slate came three bright and pretty orange cubes of jelly consistency, a gazpacho, amazingly tasting pecan ice cream and crushed pecans. This also came with the most delicious warmed apple bread roll which was sweet with raisins.
The mains. I had the red mullet which was very tender and contained no bones. A fennel & ginger sauce and a small pot of wild Madagascan pepper & chive hollandaise sauce on the side. Two large swirls of potato & citrus purée (mashed potato) with sticks of baked fennel, slices of dried chilli pepper, and some small orange balls of something (the process is called spherification) which looked good anyway, with slices of grapefruit and orange.
I’ve never had snapper before, I’m not usually much of a fish eater but on this holiday I had fish every day and only once had a meat dish and that was because we had to pre-order it weeks ago before we went away
I’ll say one thing, in fact I’ll say it thrice – presentation, presentation, presentation. It’s fairly important to me to see pretty flowers on my plate and for my food to look good enough to eat. Some people don’t like it and see it as pretentious but now and again I like a bit of pretentiousness 🙂 . I dislike my meals served on wooden boards or slates (the scraping sound of my knife on it, aargh!) and especially not burgers & chips and salads as they always seem to fall off, but some dishes do kind of work.
Geoff had chosen the best dish of the night, he always manages to do so and I get food envy. He ordered the dry-aged sirloin steak served with wild mushroom sauce, wild asparagus & truffled celery purée. Helen and I had a taste of the steak and it was absolutely sublime, we were still talking about it on the flight home. It was served fairly rare but so tasty and the jus was divine.
Helen ordered a starter as her main meal, the foie gras ravioli, beetroot, cherries, ilha cheese sauce, 62oC egg and anise. I must say that the portion sizes were rather on the large side. I had a taste of Helens dish and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
We decided to share just one dessert and settled on the creme brûlée popcorn, ice cream, meringue of caramelised popcorn. It came in a large dish with a lovely hard and burnt caramelised top. It was delicious!
We also shared a very nice bottle of red, full-bodied Castello d’Alba whilst Geoff also had a couple of beers, Cerveja Musa’s ‘Born in the IPA’ which he said was really lovely. Unfortunately we didn’t come across them again, it would have been nice to have bought some to take some home. Musa also have other beers such as ‘Mick Lager’, ‘Twist & Stout’ and ‘Red Zeppelin Ale’.
The Front of House young lady and her staff were all excellent. Friendly, not too formal/informal and plenty of them to be attentive. Some kind of piped music was in the background, I couldn’t hear a tune of sort but the restaurant had a very nice atmosphere. The evening was great and we all enjoyed it very much. If you ever find yourself in Porto – which is a lovely place to visit – and love good food then book yourself into this place toot suite.
Living life, loving Porto