Al Porto is a delightful little restaurant located on the first floor at Warehouse 13 on Hull Marina. I was recently invited to taste test their new Christmas 2015 menu at an intimate meal with 3 other local bloggers. We had an excellent evening taste testing the new Christmas 2015 menu and sipping prossecco, chatting, pulling crackers and taking a load of pictures.
The menu was very well thought out and each dish was fabulous. The options were varied and there was a dish from each course that was suitable for every taste. As it was a taster session, we were invited to test each dish from the menu. It was truly Christmassy and included a lot of my favourite Christmas eats. The starters were of epic proportions, even though they were small individual portions or larger sharing sized platters. The plates were filled to bursting
The chestnut soup was awesome. I’d only ever eaten fresh roasted chestnuts before from the man who spends the autumn & winter standing in Victoria Square in Hull city centre. The soup was rich and creamy with small chunks of chestnut. It tasted better than I expected. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to like it, but I will try anything once.
Smoked salmon roulade came with chunks of freshly baked bread and a salad garnish. It also had lemon curd too which honestly made the whole dish. I’d never thought to put smoked salmon with lemon curd but it was really, really good.
Melanzare parmigiana (which is basically slices of aubergine layered with cheese and tomatoes) looked amazing when it came to the table. It was neatly stacked and tasted amazing. The aubergine was tender and the cheese & tomato complimented it perfectly. The seasoning was spot on and we all began to wonder if there was any real need for the salt & pepper pots on the table.
After our appetites had been whet by the starters, the main courses started to arrive. The dishes were mostly share sized platters which came with small plates for each of us. The mains were mostly traditional options for Christmas dinner with a couple of options I would never have picked for my own Christmas table. All the main courses were served with seasonal veg and roasted or mashed potatoes
The roast guinea fowl with rosemary, red wine and mixed wild mushrooms was a dish that I really didn’t like the sound of. I’m not a massive fan of guinea fowl or mushrooms but this dish was really delicious and I surprised myself by liking it. The wild mushrooms were amazing and they really complimented the guinea fowl. The meat from the guinea fowl melted in my mouth. This was one of my favourite dishes from the whole evening.
Everyone expects turkey to be on a Christmas menu, but not that many people actually like it! I’ m a massive fan of turkey so I was thrilled that it was on the menu. The turkey breast filled with homemade chestnut stuffing and served with a fabulous cranberry jus was brilliant. The turkey was moist and cooked to perfection and the chestnut stuffing was really something but combined with the cranberry jus it was something else entirely. It took the dish from being just a bit of stuffed turkey to being a true fine dining Christmas dinner.
Beef wellington is a dish I love to eat but hate to cook. I can never get it right. Lots of other places I’ve eaten are not able to get it right either. This beef wellington was really special. The beef was perfect, not over cooked and still just slightly pink in the centre. The pastry was buttery and melted in my mouth and the mashed potato was really creamy.
I have to admit that the only dish I sampled that I didn’t like was the pan fried halibut with raddichio and prawn risotto. I’ve never been a fan of seafood, or risotto. The dish looked so pretty and I did try a little bit but it was not for me.
The chestnut, spinach & blue cheese en croute was really rich and I wasn’t able to eat very much at all. The pastry was really buttery and super flakey which was perfect to cut through the richness of the blue cheese, spinach and chestnut filling. It was a perfect vegetarian option but I’m a big meat eater so I wouldn’t have chosen this as a main course.
Next up was an amazing, but very small selection of desserts. Everyone was well and truly stuffed by this point so small desserts seemed like the best option. We shared a small chocolate roulade, we were supposed to have one each but none of us could manage a whole one. It was delicious, the chocolate outer was crisp and the inside was soft and very moreish. It was quite possibly the poshest mini roll I’ve ever eaten! It was really amazing, the chocolate sponge was very decadent and I couldn’t have eaten more than one after a normal meal so sharing was definitely a good thing.
The tiramisu cheesecake was to die for. Crunchy biscuit base topped with a rich & velvety coffee and vanilla layer and a wonderful coffee layer on the very top with a chocolate coffee bean to finish. It was lush. I’m not a huge fan of tiramisu but this cheesecake had the perfect amount of coffee which wasn’t too strong and did not over power the vanilla in the cheesecake.
I really enjoyed my evening taste testing the Christmas menu at Al Porto. I will definitely be visiting again before the Christmas menu is replaced. If you’re looking to eat something exceptional this Holiday season (where you can get everything you want from a fine dining restaurant without the fine dining price tag) then visit the Al Porto website or call (01482) 238889 to make a booking.
Disclaimer – I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Al Porto, Hull
I spent the evening sampling taster dishes from the Christmas Menu for the purpose of this review.
All opinions are mine, not yours.
Don’t be stealing them – Get your own!