Review: Portal Restaurant

Mimi ON Feb 17, 2011 AT 10:53 am

Portal conservatory

Portal conservatory

By John Gregory Smith

Portal is a beautifully grown up restaurant with a sophisticated modern Mediterranean menu and extensive wine list. Plus the ambient conservatory whisks you away to tranquil shores far from the heart of the city where it’s located.

The beautiful glass, back lit, conservatory, which opens onto a small courtyard, is one of the most romantic hidden spots I have been to in London. The food is described as modern European with a strong Portuguese, French and Mediterranean influence. However, head chef, Victor Fellsberto, hails from Portugal and that was why I was there.

For our starters we went for the goats cheese tart with crispy leeks, asparagus and toasted almonds and the cod infusion with roasted peppers, chickpea puree and tomato concasse, which was like a cold rich fish moose. The tart had a quite a chewy base and a lovely, beautifully melted, ring of mild goats cheese on the top, which had a tiny drizzle of honey that brought out the creamy flavour of the cheese.

For my main course I chose the deep fried Bacalhau in extra virgin olive oil with sautéed butter beans and Portuguese chorizo. Bacalhau, which is a specialty in Portugal, is dried salted cod. The classic mix of salted fish, beans and chorizo was wonderful and exactly what I wanted to be eating at Portal. My dining companion, Ellie, went for the more meaty option of Lamb medallions with honey and rosemary, which was served with a madly green potato and wild rocket puree. The beautiful flavoured fatty cuts of lamb sat on the peppery mash, which served as the perfect vehicle to soak up all those sweet lamby juices.

For our pudding we shared a chocolate fondant with orange and Greek yogurt ice cream. I love chocolate fondants and this four-sided pyramid crumpled into a molten chocolate delight. But it was the ice cream that was the real winner. The Mediterranean twist of orange and Greek yogurt gave the ice cream a slight tartness, which made it perfect to eat with the rich chocolate pudding. A great ending to the meal.

Portal Restaurant and Bar 88 St John’s Street, London EC1m 4EH

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