I love Covid – *crowd gasping*.
Actually, for three hours I loved Covid, until I got up from the table and had to put my mask back on. In the most selfish way possible, while only thinking about my bank account’s health, I loved Covid. I hate it again, my sensibility has been restored, don’t worry.
But for those three hours, my taste buds were having the ride of the year.
Here’s why: Belcanto, in Lisbon, named the 42nd best restaurant in the world, with two Michelin stars shining bright on its lapel, was 50% off.*
*only applicable on weekdays during lunch hours
But who doesn’t want a 12 course lunch on a Thursday?
This became the family event of the year, on a Thursday, while we all should be working, my parents and I plus a family friend sat for three hours and widened our eyes in awe at every bite. While impeccably dressed, obviously, as anyone is for every slightly exciting outing over the past year, we hid our excitement while entering through the discreet door. I wore my best shoes, the ones I got specifically for going to the supermarket back in April.
Belcanto is anything but presumptuous, sporting big windows to the street, allowing any passerby to peep into that house of wonders. It holds a serene atmosphere that in no way makes you fearful of speaking. No need for whispering, the waiters make you feel welcome and at home in a place where you almost feel like you shouldn’t be, as you are not worthy of such a food miracle.
After sitting down we were given some cloth napkins, I held mine on one hand and with a dumbfounded look on my face I contained myself to only whisper: “Omg they’re round!”. Indeed it was a perfect circle I folded onto my lap. What a magical place! I had no idea what was still awaiting me in this napkin journey.
We went for the Merry-go-round menu, where you don’t choose anything and miraculous little dishes appear in front of you defying your notions of food
It all started with a cocktail… – the beginning of every beautiful story. A version of my favourite, a Martini. This was when we were honoured with the chef’s hand, a literal ceramic hand offering us our first moment.
I won’t make a full statement of everything I ate in order not to spoil any surprises. However, I cannot go without saying I had some of the best seafood creations I had ever tasted. From oysters, which I am not a fan of but loved to the last bite, to langoustine, to even a spherification of hummus – anything in the shape of a sphere that is not a fruit is still a wonder to me.
More than the unconventional food pairing, the serving pieces were too unconventional in their own way, the ceramic hand, some blocks of stone and even scallop shells without the aforementioned scallop. But most unconventional was when, in our way to dessert, we were asked for our napkins. While quizzically looking at each other we abided and were soon shown our new napkin: a sleeve.
A buttoned white sleeve we were to wear on whichever arm we preferred to clean our mouths on. Needless to say I grabbed the towel countless times to clean myself before I noticed I was wearing the napkin on my arm. This moment was meant to make us return to childhood while we indulged on a Child’s favourite, sweets.
What is truly remarkable about this place is that both food and experience matter in equal amounts, especially considering food as an experience in itself, given the explosions of flavours you don’t get on a daily basis.
I can confidently say I now know why this is the 42nd best restaurant in the world and one of the best meals in Lisbon, you have never tasted anything likely, and if it wasn’t for Covid I doubt I would have either.
All in the name of helping local businesses, obviously and exclusively… hummm hum