I have been looking forward to returning to Almeida for Chocolate week, based mainly on my experience last year. I have had drinks, lunch and several dinners at Almeida since then. I do rate this place as a good choice for eating or drinking at any time of the year, however it does seem to manage to raise its game during Chocolate week.
Head Chef, Alan Jones has teamed up again this year with chocolatier Paul A Young, to create the Chocolate Menu.
We started with Chocolate Martini’s (not on the drinks menu, so made to order), a good start to this themed occasion. The Truffle and Honey Risotto was well received, very rich. The main courses of Halibut and Pork Belly were more subtle, although the Pork Belly recipe last year may have had the edge. We tried a different Portuguese wine this year (Crasto, Douro, 2005), which worked well with the Chocolate theme, and switched our dessert wine choice on the Sommieliers recommendation to a bottle of Maury, Mas Amiel Vintage, Roussillon, France, 2007. Which I certainly enjoyed with the Ported plums roasted with orange in dark chocolate consomme and Paul A Youngs sea salted caramel.
The service although friendly was flawed, staff were weak on ingredients in the dishes, and our coffee arriving before we had finished dessert is a real no no, when you are trying to have a relaxing evening.
So although the meal was good, it did not quite reach the heights of last years.