Food & Beverage | Chiado: More than just sardines and bacalhau

Crispy vanilla parcels with raspberry coulis

Sands Cotai Central has officially launched a Portuguese restaurant – Chiado – offering a modernized taste of Portugal in partnership with celebrity chef Henrique Sá Pessoa.

Emphasizing traditional dishes in a contemporary way, the restaurant is complemented by an extensive Portuguese wine cellar.

Involved from the outset, Chef Henrique, a figure in the dynamic Portuguese culinary scene, led the design team in terms of kitchen and restaurant concept and menu creation.

He was also responsible for recruiting Chiado’s Portuguese head chef, sous chefs and training staff prior to opening.

For Chef Henrique, this newly opened restaurant is not just an addition to the city’s large number of Portuguese restaurants, rather, it emphasizes on creating Portuguese dishes that are new to the local palette.

“We are not only bringing wonderful, contemporary Portuguese cuisine to Sands Cotai Central, but a genuine flavor of the country’s vibrant culinary scene and traditions,” said Chef Henrique.

In a menu tasting event held during the week, the chef introduced a series of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including tuna tataki with vegetable escabeche and tomato tartare; salted cod à brás with slow-cooked egg yolk and onion purée; and roasted pumpkin soup with coconut cream, prawns and almonds.

Chiado also specializes in king prawn cataplana with sweet potato perfumed with lemongrass and ginger; 24-hour slow-cooked suckling pork with sweet potato purée; and pak choy and orange, amongst others.

“We try to keep it as original as possible. We adjusted the salt quite a bit because the Portuguese tend to have a heavy hand on salt […] but for the rest of the ingredients, we don’t change as much,” the chef explained.

24 hours slow cooked suckling pork with sweet potato purée, pak choy and orange

Chef Henrique has brought his cuisine from his Michelin two-star Alma restaurant in Lisbon, Chiado, for a series of exclusive dining events until tomorrow.

According to the chef, Portuguese cuisine has evolved over the past few years, and Portugal has received more Michelin-starred restaurants.

“During the last three years, we have [had] more Michelin-starred restaurants than the last 30 years so it’s been a big change, not just in the high-end cuisines,” said the chef.

“Lots of chefs are doing amazing work and I think that’s going to [continue] over the next few years – it’s going to get notoriety compared to other countries and [chefs will prepare] more than just sardines and bacalhau,” the chef said in jest.

Chef Henrique – who stars in a cooking television show – added that Portuguese cuisine is becoming more represented in markets outside Portugal.

“I think Macau is going to become more like a foodie destination and I think it’s the right timing for Chiado to commence,” he said.

Chef Henrique is also working on bringing wine producers and cheese producers to the restaurant, pledging to visit the restaurant four times a year during his five-year contract with Sands Cotai Central.

“Chiado is going to be a project that I want to be close to, and it is not just a restaurant outside of Portugal. I’m very involved and I follow the project’s works very closely,” he added. Lynzy Valles, MDT

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