Grape variety gives name to restaurant

Inspired by Grenache grape variety, French chef Philippe Gelfi's restaurant next to St George's Castle serves a contemporary menu and has a wine list where French wines from various regions stand out.

In a country producing wine like ours, it is rare to find in the wine shops or in restaurants a good variety of foreign wine brands. Those that exist are generally more from the main producing countries, and little else. For this reason, turns out to be curious to find a restaurant where there are more than 100 wine references, most of which are French.

It all started when a French artist (sister-in-law of boss Philippe Gelfi) came to Portugal to personally deliver a painting in the café of the Belmonte Palace, renovated and recently transformed into a luxury hotel. It was she who, when she knew by the hotel owner Frédéric Coustols, that space would become vacant warned the brother-in-law of the possibility of opening a restaurant there. Knowing the potential of and the tourist boom in Lisbon, Gelfi had no doubts in juggling and move here immediately. With him came friend Quentin Vedovat, partner of the chief, who devised the wine list.

The name Grenache reveals the origin of the young chef: it is an ink caste introduced in the Avignon area, more châteauneuf-du-Pape in the 19th century, where today is still the caste most commonly used. After a route that led Philippe Gelfi to work in houses of great renown, from north to south of France, such as the Christian restaurant Etienne (a Michelin star) in Avignon, the Pierre Sang group in Paris, and the restaurant of the famous Hotel La Réserve in Paris (two Michelin stars), the chef sought to broaden his horizons and try a project of his, having doors of the Grenache in May 2019.  Since this date, the small restaurant has proposed a cuisine dominated by French cooking techniques, in which the fusion of flavors and textures are the focus of of each of the chef's dishes, mostly based on seasonal products Portuguese. Your ambition is to get a Michelin star with this project.

The à la carte menu offers room starters, fourth dishes and three desserts. In the entries stand out the Raviolis of ricotta, capers and olives, cherry tomatoes and water tomato; and the Carpaccio of golden, supreme of clementine, yuzu gel and citrus vinaigrette. In the main courses we find the Chicken Breast cooked at low temperature, curette cannelloni and sheep cheese, sauce supreme of tarragon; and the black pork loin, potato texture, potato sauce meat and anchovy. There are also three desserts, a cheese dish; a creamy chocolate and lime and an Ice cream of popcorn and pepper, with cocoa leaf Crispy. Those who prefer, can also opt for one of the tasting menus, with six or eight dishes.

The wine list complements the gastronomic offer, highlighting the variety of wines french that are mostly. According to Quentin Vedovat - who in addition to partnering with the chef is also sommelier and responsible restaurant room -- before opening grenache have been informed about some of the Portuguese wines that could have in the letter. However, the idea was always to bet on a majority of French wines to differentiate themselves from other restaurants. So in the letter of wines there are whites, reds and rosés from various French regions, among alsacia, Jura, Burgundy, Loire, Rhône and Languedoc Roussilon Provence; but there is still a good variety of champagnes. The bet was for wine brands known, but also of small producers who make a difference, including some natural wines, which follow international trends.