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Authentic Portuguese dinner at Pestana Chelsea.
I recently dined in Atlantico at Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel – a sleek, modern 4 star hotel near Sloane Square which our blog has already visited on various occasions. It sits right opposite Battersea Park and some rooms even enjoy views over iconic Battersea Power Station.
We had specifically requested “caldo verde” as our main course – a soothing and spectacularly colourful Portuguese “green soup” made from potatoes, onions, kale and meat. And you’ll see from the pics further down that our wish was most definitely granted…
But to kick things off we decided to graze on the restaurant’s famous buffet-style “tapas table” for our starters – a wonderfully varied and colourful smorgasbord of Iberian delights including vibrant sun-dried tomatoes, thinly-sliced flavoursome aubergine, a selection of cured meats and cheeses, a variety of pickles, white anchovies and more.
Everything tasted so fresh and appetising. We loved the immaculately warm rustic brown bread which we used to dab our plates with as we mixed and match the diverse complementary flavours of our tapas.
The photos of our plates showcase the superb variety of tapas on offer – our only concern at this stage was whether we’d fill our stomachs before the main course, so tempted were we to return to the tapas table again and again (dangerously, there’s no limit on the number of visits!). We washed it all down with some smooth Sauvignon Blanc.
Our reward for resisting the urge to overindulge got its payoff soon after with the arrival of the piece de resistance – our magnificent caldo verde!
You may ask why someone could get so excited about soup? Well, for a start caldo verde is more a broth than a soup – and a vibrantly colourful, flamboyant one as the pictures illustrate. It looks like a work of modern art! Ours was served with juicy bits of chorizo protruding seductively from within the broth, adding a little kick in terms of both flavour and texture.
Caldo verde is the Ferrari of soups! It’s also the perfect late autumn dish – soothing enough to prepare you to resist the elements, while surprisingly light and refreshing at the same time. You can feel its goodness seep through your veins with its delicate, subtle and well-balanced flavours.
My dining companion was an expert on authentic caldo verde and declared it one of the best she had tasted – and such a pleasant surprise to discover it in London! By this stage we had no room left for dessert, so instead we wandered around Atlantico to admire the photos of Portugal, a couple of which are shown above and below.
All in all, a wonderful evening in a hidden gem of a restaurant – for a couple of precious hours, we really did feel as though we’d been transported to Portugal. If you fancy authentic Portuguese food in London, go to Atlantico at Pestana Chelsea – preferably before the crowds discover it!
The “authentic food” trend is really taking off among London hotel restaurants – as we also recently discovered at the opulent Baglioni Kensington during our evening sampling its authentic Italian food and drink.
Photo credits: London Hotels Insight Flickr.
Disclosure: we paid for our own meal but were offered a complimentary drink.