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Sintra-Winterlicious

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Miguel Feb 3, 2004 03:41 PM

Went there yesterday to celebrate girlfriends birthday.

Was not busy by any stretch of the imagination, but they only had one server working...and not a very good one at that. He was nice, but simply not up to par.

1. When we arrived we waited 5 or 6 minutes for someone to come and sit us untill I finally became exasperated and proceeded to find him and he was talkin to the bartender. He apologized profusely, but thats unnaceptable.

2. Had a question about two wines (Vasco da gama 99 vs a charamba) which he couldn't answer appropriately, basically saying the vasco da gama was better because it was more expensive.

3. Couldn't answer anything about the cocktail list

4. My girlfriend chose her martini first and it sat on the bar for a good 15 minutes before arriving. Mine was made later, but he should have been able to account for that.

As for the food, the caldo verde soup was flavourful but not prepared in a traditional way, with much more of a potato element than usual. The cod dumplings were quite good however, with a nice crispy exterior surrounding the moist fish.

We both had the carne de porco alentejana (Portuguese pork and clams). The pork was moist and it matched well with the clams (of which there are only 3 per dish)and the potatoes were perfectly executed. But this dish should have more spice and heat to it to be a winner.

And on a side note, I checked the regular menu and 18 dollars for pork and clams is almost laughable. I am aware that you probably have larger portions outside of a winterlicious event, but this is not a haute cuisine dish or one that requires extensive preparation or costly ingredients. I have dined at chiado and will gladly pay 40 dollars for their fish, but I know this food and I know when a robbery is taking place. This is my personal opinion and I would be glad to discuss it here.

Finally the dessert - Natas do Ceu - was light and sinfully sweet with cookie crumble layers providing a nice contrast to the sweet egg custard and egg foam. No complaints there :)

It may seem that I am being overly harsh, and I do appreciate the value I got due to it being Winterlicious (although the bill still came to over 100 with drinks) but this is simply not a restaurant I would care to visit again, especially if that level of service is present at full price. I guess I will have to try Amadeus and Cataplana for good medium-priced Portuguese...Sintra is not it.