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Henrique Sá Pessoa is perhaps the great white hope of Portuguese haute cuisine.
His search for the roots of Portuguese cuisine and his eagerness to lighten it, bring it up to date and focus his work on the local product are glimpsed in technical but apparently simple dishes.
And yet, his proposal still seems halfway to take shape. Let's start with the essential: in Alma you eat from good to very good.
Sá Pessoa is committed to the roots of Portuguese cuisine but always eager to lighten it and update it © Alma
Modern kitchen in the best sense of expression, with good product and well-adjusted cooking points.
If it is still excessively conservative and obvious, too complacent with the Lisbon palate. Review of the Portuguese recipe book here and an Asian touch there, but without taking great risks.
Something lacking precisely that which should define the restaurant: a certain soul and personality.
The room, dark and naked, joins the trend that seems to prevail now in the Portuguese capital © Alma
Portuguese creative cuisine - or rather its interpreters - still seems to lack some creative independence.
It may be necessary that a new generation, which could well champion Sá Pessoa, look less at its Spanish neighbors, to the technological legacy of technoemotional, assembly and company cuisine and focus on developing and updating the enormously rich Portuguese recipe book.
Winks to the traditional recipe book with oriental brushstrokes make up a light and pleasant kitchen © Alma
Thus, well-resolved dishes parade along the table like squid with its broth, chickpeas and tomato; the sweet review of cod à brás or the excellent sea bass of the Azores with clam rice 'Bulhao Pato' and codium.
Continuous winks to the traditional cookbook, light, fresh and precise broths and oriental brushstrokes that are reflected in a light and pleasant kitchen, accessible to all audiences.
Alma: one of the best gastro options in Lisbon © Alma
The wine list - almost exclusively local, something that our neighbors usually apply without major complexes - is interesting, although it probably falls short of the premises' aspirations.
The room, dark and naked - as it seems to be the norm in Lisbon lately - is cooler than comfortable and seems designed more for the stylist's joy than for the client's own comfort.
Finally, let's go back to the beginning: do you eat well? Yes. But you will have to moderate expectations as long as Sá Pessoa does not decide to take a leap forward and put into play all the potential that is intuited.
Quality and well-adjusted cooking points define the modern kitchen of Sá Pessoa © Alma
Rua Anchieta, 15, 1200-023 Lisbon
+351 213 470 650