As the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, celebrated Portuguese restaurant and wine bar Bar Douro has introduced a warming winter menu, bringing the spirit of Portuguese festivities to the arches of London Bridge.
Inspired by the traditional cervejarias and tascas of Lisbon and Porto, Bar Douro is ready for the winter months with an impressive range of Ports, a festive Bacalhau Cod countdown and Roast Suckling Pig Sundays.
Embracing its Portuguese heritage, Bar Douro is celebrating the Christmas period with the popular Bacalhau, serving four different variations for each week of December. Throughout Portugal, Bacalhau Cod is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, which historically derived from the Catholic Church forbidding the faithful from eating meat during religious feasts. The salting of the fish is an ancient method for preserving and salt cod was traditionally dried outdoors by the wind and sun.
Rehydrated in-house, the team at Bar Douro will be showcasing this staple, drawing inspiration from the various regions of Portugal and beyond. Indeed, with over 800 known recipes for Salt Cod, this specialty is feasted on far and wide; with every Portuguese household having a much-loved tried and tested variation.
Bacalhau com natas with crispy kale - one of the most popular dishes at Christmas, Bar Douro founder Max Graham grew up eating this secret family recipe every Christmas eve.
Bacalhau à Brás (Salt cod hash) - one of Bar Douro’s iconic dishes and considered the ultimate comfort meal in Portugal. This signature dish combines typical, honest ingredients used in Portuguese cooking: bacalhau, eggs, onion, potatoes and olives.
Bacalhau moqueca - considered more Brazilian than Portuguese, this dish is representative of the breadth that Portuguese settlers travelled and the extent to which they spread their traditions. Common in the state of Bahia, Bar Douro will be serving their bacalhau simmered in coconut milk and tomatoes.
Bacalhau roupa velha - traditionally eaten on 25th December after the Christmas Eve feast, this dish lies at the heart of any Portuguese Christmas. Demonstrative of Portugal’s resourcefulness, it is made from the leftovers of the day before and intended to be enjoyed before a meat course is served.
Every Sunday, Bar Douro will be serving an unmissable Roast Suckling Pig, inspired by Graham’s childhood and family road trips through Mealhada, an unassuming town on the main road between Porto and Lisbon, famous for Portugal’s best suckling pig houses. Served with roast potatoes, carrots and cauliflower at Bar Douro, pair with Campolargo ‘espumante’/sparkling, Bairrada for the full experience. This hearty winter dish is priced at £24.
Elsewhere on the menu, newly introduced Winter specials include petsicos of Pica-pau (Sautéed Beef with pickled vegetables) along with seasonal Pumpkin with requeiajo (ricotta) and marjoram oil. Mussel Acorda with egg, chourico and saffron is a warming dish, complemented by a glass of white Valdoeiro 2010, whilst Braised Pork Cheeks with turnip top salsa verde and Iberico Pork Ribs with a ruby port glaze are paired best with Churchill Estates Grande Reserva.
It’s not Christmas without a glass of port, and Bar Douro has both an extensive cellar list and blackboard of written specials for red ports by the glass. As scion to the Churchill’s dynasty, Max has a desire to educate his customers on the varieties of port, which means Bar Douro’s selection is unrivalled in London.
Graham’s recommendations for Christmas include Churchill’s LBV (Late Bottled vintage priced at £7 per glass) - seasoned in aged barrels, it is the perfect accompaniment to some of the stronger flavours on the menu; in particular the creamy Serra da Estrela cheese from Bar Douro’s Cheeseboard.