The Rei dos Pigões restaurant was born in 1947, at the time a tavern where good regional snacks were eaten. Over the years, and after deep renovations, it has become one of Bairrada's prestigious restaurants, especially with regard to wines. None in the region have such a varied letter and an equally enviable service. For this reason, it has received numerous awards for recognition of the same quality. António Paulo Rodrigues is the team manager of the King of Piglets, the most visible face of a family that for several generations has made this restaurant a reference. In addition to the piglet, there is also chanfana, cod in the oven, steer chops, octopus to the lagareiro, rojões, fresh fish (almost always in line and acquired in the market of Costa Nova), pork baits of onions and piglet fit. António Paulo Rodrigues tells us about the success of this family restaurant.
Despite the name of the restaurant, there are here other dishes that not only the delicious piglet. Is the piglet here king, or not at all? (laughs) The p
iglet will always be the king of our letter. However, people increasingly prefer fish and vegetarian dishes. Also a lot of organic meat. Rawer and more natural foods. Example of this is mushrooms. There are whole families who in their spare time will pick mushrooms. People are increasingly opting for healthier eating. And we, in the kitchen, try to keep up with this change in customer habits and even have a biological vegetable garden. Our fish is very fresh, comes from Peniche, and we still have a special organic and certified honey, among many other products. The coming of chef Carlos Fernandes to the restaurant was also central to our success.
The restaurant has one of Bairrada's most complete wine cellars. Do you have wines mostly from the region, or do you have everything a l
ittle? The Cellar of the King of Piglets has been awarded several times at national level. We have more than 1400 references from all national regions, with a high incidence, of course, on Bairrada, but also many wines in the world. The evolution of wines in recent years has been huge. And the client is getting more and more enlightened and knowledgeable. Most, when you go to the King of piglets, you know what's coming. You know you'll find an exceptional kitchen, but also an excellent, high standard wine service. For this we trained our employees.
Interestingly, I know you're not a wine connoisseur. How did you get such a good and complete wine cellar? I've
been abstine my forever. Alcoholic beverages were never part of my food chain. The reason, I can't explain. However, and certainly because of my mother working in the former National Wine Board, later Institute of Vine and Wine, contributed to being often in contact with wine. So ever since I've known myself, i've been a fan of magazines and books on the subject. I have a library with a reasonable number of publications. Even at home, and when my activity focused on Banca, I often acquired reference wines in each harvest. As such, the King's wine cellar is based on the acquisition of references advised by the greatest and best connoisseurs of this country.
What do the most customers ask for here at the restaurant? B
ecause sparkling wine is one of the drinks that best accompanies our election plate, it is the product we sell the most. But we also have many customers accompanying meal with reds and whites, as well as other wines, such as ports or Tokaj to accompany desserts.
© Photograph: Miguel Ferreira