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2 May 2018

londrino x embassy

a few weeks ago now, i had the absolute honour of attending a dinner banquet at the portuguese embassy in london. how i got the invite, i will never know, but my cup runneth over with gratitude as not only was the dinner service the most elegant i have ever encountered, but it the promised banquet was being prepared by none other than london's "londrino" restaurant - the brainchild of portuguese expat, chef leandro carreira. the event was held to promote and celebrate the first fifteen restaurants from around the uk to be unveiled as the ambassadors of portuguese gastronomy in the united kingdom, and i was absolutely thrilled to be invited to dine with the ambassador himself as the awards were being handed out.

the embassy, for a start, is bloody stunnning. situated right in the heart of belgravia, the house itself is as grand as it is filled with gorgeous and timeless art and decor; wall-sized tapestries, crystal chandeliers, and fresh flowers in every corner (and on every table, too). we were welcomed by the ambassador and his wife with glasses of free flowing wine, and an introduction to "taste portugal" - the initiative from the portuguese hospitality and catering association, responsible for the gastronomy awards. formalities out the way, we did what we went there to do: taste portugal.

we were served up six courses - each with a perfectly paired wine alongside it, and included everything from cured seafood to perfectly cooked meat, and a delicious traditional dessert to finish. of the five dishes, my favourite had to be the craupaudine beetroot with puffed amaranth; it was meaty in a way you don't expect beetroot to be, and the flavour was deep and smokey. the crispy grain sprinkled on top gave the perfectly-cooked beet an added crunch, which always wins points in my book. the dish i was hoping i wouldn't like but absolutely did was the bisaro pork presa. the almond and garlic condiment served alongside the rich, pink meat was the highlight of the dish, while the wilted red peppers were there to give the already flavourful meat a sweeter zing.

last but not least was a requeijo tart. sweet and buttery shortcrust pastry and a zingy cheesy filling (paired with a dessert wine - a port, thank you!) was the piest de resistance to a pretty perfect meal, and a terrific way to end the award ceremony, and in fact, a random monday night in april for that matter.

a massive thanks to the team at taste portugal for the invitation, and a huge congratulations to the 15 winners of this year's awards - you can find them all here. i was a guest of the ambassador's, but all words are my own!