Antiqvvm with its one Michelin star is the creation of Chef Vitor Matos, raised in Portugal and trained in Switzerland. He has received many awards for his cooking but I haven’t been able to find much about him personally online. Antiqvvm sits within a museum complex including the Porto Municipal art museum and several others and sits below a gallery complex and opens out onto a garden patio with one of the best views in Porto. I arrived just after sunset and the vista was stunning. The main themes that I can divine from the restaurant are primarily seasonality and highlighting local ingredients in a refined way.
The Municipal Gallery is surrounded by a castle-like stone wall as well as the other buildings nearby, so you enter through a narrow road lined by tall stone walls and through a gate at the end at what appears to be an estate but is a set of smaller galleries. The restaurant sits just below ground level so you enter down a long easy stairway. If you show up a bit early there’s a fabulous park just next door where the locals come to watch the sunset. The view is spectacular. Seems to be lots of parking there.
The service tends to be very attentive and mildly formal, so you’ll be greeted at the door and shown to your table. The diners seemed to be a mix of suits to jeans. So you won’t feel uncomfortable without a tie .
The menu offers two tasting menus: the 7 course “Organic” menu at 90euros and 7 or 9 course “Sensory Moments” menu at 140euros or 160euros respectively. With a pairing for 65/85euros. As well as an a la carte menu. I chose the full Sensory Moments menu with pairing
Sensory Moments (the full menu)
The bread service
Normally I wouldn’t highlight the bread service but this one seemed a bit interesting. You receive four types of bread, a regular butter with fresh pepper, a seaweed butter that’s made to look like a green stone, and some very nice local olive oil. I try not to fill up before a long meal but I had try a little bit of everything.
Cutlassfish, tomato, trout roes, coriander, strawberries, flowers.
This course looks straightforward but actually had a complex profile. The tomato slice and strawberry pair as you might expect but with an addition of the cutlassfish (often used as a bait fish) and trout roe bring the saltiness of the sea bridged with the coriander cream.
Foie gras, smoked eel, beetroot, balsamic, pine nuts. Elderberry brioche.
This dish lays down a layer of fluffy foie gras mousse cemented by a brandy aspic. A slice of smoked eel on top brings an explosion of umami and rounded out by the beetroot puree and beetroot crisp and pine nuts. (The menu specified “pin” nuts so I assume it’s a typo for pine although it could alternatively refer to pinon nuts from the pinon tree which are very similar but superior.) Paired with the plate is a small glazed brioche. I didn’t really pick up the elderberry flavor and it was a bit dense so I only had one of the three.
Influences of the World
Blue lobster, chilli, yuzu, curry, calamansi, avocado, mango.
This was quite interesting. It really captured a sort of international island mélange of flavors. The base is a gelatin of mango with some mango pieces further up to carry that flavor throughout. The blue lobster is sweet and decadent. The curry brings more island spice and is poured on tableside. And the calamansi ice cream cools things down in a nice interplay of temperatures and brings a limey tropical note that really ties the mango and curry together.
Crayfish, butter, mushrooms, asparagus, fermented garlic.
This dish was really all about the fantastic and sweet crayfish. The fermented garlic and morel foam made it pop. And off to the side you get a few tastes of white asparagus and morels that bring body and depth. Physically they felt a little disjointed but the flavor was top notch.
Red mullet, sea urchin, codium, prawn, cauliflower.
A base of caramelized cauliflower puree and a few crowns of charred cauliflower for texture. The red mullet filet was visually arresting and the sea urchin foam made it luxurious. The prawn was just a bit of icing. I guess the codium was bringing a bit of the sea flavor to the dish but it could have been better incorporated, nice bit of color though.
Codfish, egg yolk, onions, parsley, caviar.
A nice bit of cod, crunchy and flavorful vegetables, caviar is always nice.
Pigeon, hazelnuts, beetroot, artichoke, foie gras, truffle.
This dish was fantastic. A perfectly cooked pigeon breast, I love pigeon, along with both a bit of seared foie gras and like a slice of torchon or emulsified sausage of foie gras and pigeon together. Dabs of foie gras mousse with little leaves of truffle on top. Thin and crispy leaves of beetroot with intricate textures.
Onion, cherry, balsamic.
Azeitao is a popular local soft stinky cheese, here made entirely in-house, a bit lighter and fluffier, with an edible label, some onion jam, and cherry sorbet.
Sable, mascarpone, citrus.
I think this was lemon mascarpone frozen into a lemon shape then coated in crisp white chocolate and painted yellow and then left to soften at room temperature with some bits of sable cookie (like a crispy sugar cookie), lemon sorbet, some cubes of jelly and a jelly fruit slice.
Coffee and Mignardises
Your usual bit of tiny desserts and chocolates. I think this display is more designed for 2-4 people so my version might look a bit thin dining alone.
I’m usually all about the details but looking back at my photos I didn’t capture many. The restaurant uses Cutipol cutlery which I adore and even provided me with an address of their local store. The earthenware was simple and undistracting. Nice details like bag hooks and nice napkins. I was primarily focused on the food, which I think was the point. I enjoyed the cloth linen in the bathroom. The green decorative glass bread plate seemed a little out of place though. Especially with everything else being ceramic and the delicate Cutipol cutlery.
The restaurant itself faces forward towards the view and the patio. There appeared to be multiple dining rooms on a couple of levels along with a bar on the second level but only the lower dining room appeared open. Architecture is a very classic looking stone with modern details and much of the upper spaces had a cellar like quality.