Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Rabo D'Pêxe, Lisbon – first time – mixed, second – excellent

Following André Ribeirinho's recommendation that we should try Rabod d'Pêxe, a new Lisbon fish restaurant that opened last December, we have eaten there twice this week. On Tuesday it was just CRM and myself as we wanted to try it out before going with two friends from the UK who were arriving late the next day. Then last night the four of us went. 

Filipe Rodrigues is the executive chef at Rabo D'Pêxe (or Rabod'Pêxe?). Rodrigues was previously the chef at Sea Me. His new restaurant is very much in the modern style with the strong Japanese influences of Sea Me.   

Tuesday's visit was rather mixed, while last night's was excellent.   

 The 'glacial' end of the main room

Tuesday 16th February 2016
The positives:
As I say, our first visit was a little mixed. We had two very good starters – the tempura prawns with a delicate coating of almonds – and seared scallops with with a fine base of beetroot. The prawns are a classic from Sea Me. We had an excellent bottle of 2014 Alvarinho, Muros de Melgaço from Anselmo (30€).
  Tempura prawns with almonds 
 Scallops with fine base of beetroot

 2014 Alvarinho, Muros de Melgaço, Anselmo Mendes

The negatives 

Main course: oversold on the fish

Our table was towards the far end of the main room with very fierce air-conditioning – it was decidedly chilly. We asked our waiter if it could be turned down or directed away from us. He did adjust it, which made it slightly less chilly. I suspect there was also cold air coming in from outside as over the evening four other tables at our end of the restaurant asked to be moved, which was done. 

The staff were clearly aware of the problem as they happily moved people to other tables away from the glacial western end. However, nobody seemed to be in charge to actually try to sort the problem. 

The lighting in our section was very low and the wine list printed on fashionable brown paper, which made it almost impossible to read.   

There is a brilliant fish counter with wonderfully fresh produce in the passageway between the two rooms. Here you choose your fish. We choose a brightly coloured fish, which we had never heard of, from the Azores. We were persuaded to add some grilled squid to our order. Some king prawns were also suggested but we resisted this suggestion.

Our fish was perfectly grilled but it was accompanied by a large portion of squid – a large white slab, which was far more than we needed, especially as the dish came with a very generous portion of roasted vegetables. 

Friday 19th February 2016

The positives: 

As we left on Tuesday we booked for four of us on Friday specifying that we wanted to sit where it was warm! This was quickly arranged and we had a very good table by the window at the front of the restaurant.

We also decided that we would dispense with a main course of grilled fish – instead go for the sashimi after a few starters. This worked a treat and we had a really good dinner with excellent service – our waiter on Tuesday had just tried too hard, which became a little ingratiating

For our entrées we went for the two classics we had had on Tuesday – the tempura prawns with almond slices and the seared scallops. In addition we chose the swordfish with seaweed salad and the blood pudding and pineapple. Both were very good. I was intrigued to try the blood pudding as we have had this some years back at Stop do Barrio and it is a combination that works very well. Naturally the Rabod d'Pêxe is different – more refined – but both are memorable.  

Winewise we stayed with Anselmo Mendes – our choice was approved by the Australian sounding sommelier who is pure Portuguese despite his accent. This time we selected two of Mendes' wines from his Lisbon project starting with the precise 2013 Alvarinho (20€) with a little more weight and slightly less citric than the Muros de Melgaco. The softer but equally good 2103 Viosinho, Adegamãe followed.

The negatives
One minor quibble – we ordered a mixed salad which consisted of some lettuce and a few slices of tomato. To be fair it wasn't on the menu but we wanted to make a gesture towards our 'five a day'!

 Swordfish with seaweed salad

 Blood pudding and pineapple

 45 pieces of delicious sashimi 

 2013 Viosinho, Adegamãe, Anselmo Mendes

Three fine desserts:

 A very good crème brulée

Chocolate cake 

 Fish art with tram

 A special shoe-in!

As Rabo D'Pêxe has a good list of fortified wines by the glass, we finished the evening by choosing four different examples. The most interesting were a Moscatel Roxo de Setúbal and a Boal from Barbeito

Reckon on between 40€-50€ per person assuming that you don't go mad on the wine! 

Rabo D'Pêxe is certainly recommended but make sure that in the cooler part of the year you sit somewhere warm!  

Address: Av. Duque de Ávila 42, 1050-053 Lisboa
Telephone: 21 314 1605

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