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  • Columbia Hillen

Concert for pots and pans

Reminiscent of an invitation to dine within the inner temple of the kitchen in the Oitavos Hotel in Cascais, I have to thank Chef Sebastian Fratye for such an experience.

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It may not be overly exaggerated to view the experience of dining at the Chef’s Table as akin to that of a classical concert – sizzling pans, knives on cutting boards and bubbling pots weaving their melodies to produce a culinary crescendo - with the listener enjoying the benefit of ‘tasting the music’ afterwards.

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Extending the metaphor, an overture of black eyed bean salad with dried tuna and a sprinkling of red pepper and red onion swerved as a prelude to greater things to come, the salty tuna complementing the earthy, full-bodied beans.

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A second starter of sweetbreads and crawfish in a tarragon and Muscatel sauce was a fine example of how almost anything can be combined if knowledge and skill is aplenty.

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Then came the soft, mellow tones of scallop, lightly kissed on a hot pan flavored with butter, garlic, coriander, mustard and lemon confit – a well-performed adagio.

columbia hillen food photography

And the climactic finale - 40-day matured Portuguese Black Angus steak accompanied by an aromatic Douro red wine from Vila Regia, which Nuno Antunes, the F&B manager, said emerged from the vineyards the Champalimaud family own in northern Portugal. The encore: a dark chocolate dessert that literary opened its petals before us as pastry chef Joaquim de Sousa delicately dripped his sweet, creamy sauce over it.

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If you did not believe in magic before, watch this. And if you did, you see how right you are.


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