Members of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and their guests were warmly welcomed by Chef Leonel Pereira and his Maître d’ Delfim João on Friday, August 20 when they arrived at the terrace of the chef’s own restaurant CHECKin, close to the harbour in central Faro, for their scheduled ‘Dîner Gastronomique’.
It was plain to see that although Covid restrictions were still governing the number of guests who could be seated at any one table, even on terraces, hospitality venues were taking advantage of the wide cobbled pavements of the old city and the beautiful warm evenings to provide opportunities to be able to serve their guests once again.
Once the group was seated, Sommelier Victor D’Avó began to unveil the journey through his chosen wines starting with Murganheira Super Reserve Brut 2015 to accompany the first dish of mackerel fillet on potato and celery salad.
Sommelier D’Avó had chosen a route for the selected wines from a mono grape through a two-grape blend, onto the final wine with four grape varieties.
The concept of a journey is the philosophy behind the restaurant’s name CHECKin. Chef Leonel Pereira, formally of restaurant São Gabriel where he obtained a Michelin star, wishes to portray a journey through his creative culinary career, showcasing his innovative approach using local sustainable products and preserving their individual flavour. He invites his diners to check-in for this journey.
The Dîner Gastronomique continued with crab in a sauce of coconut, tomato and coriander accompanied by Barão do Hospital Loureiro Minho 2020, a mono-grape wine from the Vinho Verde region. This was followed by octopus cooked at low temperature for 15 hours and accompanied by sweet potato purée, tomato petals, courgettes and samphire. The chosen wine was a fresh, light white Casal da Azenha Lisboa 2018.
The main course was pork cheeks stuffed with red wine and spices served with red cabbage, sauerkraut and truffle potato. The accompanying wine was a rich, intense red Dão, Quinta de Lemos Dona Santana Dão 2011 made with four grape varieties – Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen and Alfrocheiro.
Apple tart with tonka bean ice cream was the dessert which was served with Arbun Honey “Melosa” Algarve; an arbutus brandy combined with honey from the Serra do Caldeirão.
The presentation of a token of appreciation from the Bailliage de l’Algarve to the establishment was followed by coffee and tea served with pineapple jelly stars under the Algarve stars which brought the enjoyable meal to an end.
By VALERIE LANTAU