Carlos Afonso: Damm’s gastronomic star in Lisbon

Carlos Afonso: Damm’s gastronomic star in Lisbon

Carlos Afonso © ffmag

Young and friendly, with a bronzed complexion and jet black hair, Carlos Afonso is the embodiment of the perfect Portuguese man. With a broad, white smile, a sweet voice and tremendous self-confidence, it is easy to imagine him as one of the brave seamen who set sail on small wooden vessels in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, expanding our knowledge of the world and its oceans. Such is Lisbon’s most fashionable chef, who, at the helm of the restaurant Oitto, proudly flies the flag for Portugal.

Born in Alentejo in the summer of ‘86 to a family of culinary fans, the chef tried his hand at every kitchen position going, including pot washer. After finishing his studies in Cuisine Management and Production at the Portuguese School of Tourism, he embarked on a journey that took him to many of the kitchens of the best restaurants in the world and in Europe.

The young chef is proud to uphold his country’s gastronomy at a time when globalisation seems to be blurring the lines between the culinary traditions of most of the world’s restaurants. Afonso aims to familiarise people with Portuguese culture and its roots through his dishes and, above all, through strictly Portuguese produce.

Carlos Afonso chef Oitto. Lisbon

Carlos Afonso © Oitto

Nevertheless, the beer that is served in each one of his projects is not Portuguese but Spanish. Carlos has a close relationship with Estrella Damm, ever since the Tarragona-based brewery gave their unconditional support to his first business while others closed their doors on him. Such is the case that he has become one of the ambassadors of Damm in Portugal, a place the Mediterranean brand is eyeing up due to the revolution that has been taking place for several years in the restaurant sector.

With good reason, Estrella Damm is a brand that has been focusing its attention on gastronomy for years, as the chef points out, noting that while other beers target bars, Damm concentrates on restaurants. This is attested to by the large variety of beers that they offer to accompany nearly any dish. Out of the whole range, however, the chef does not hesitate in showing his preference for Inedit, the beer developed by Ferrán Adriá, which has won him and much of his clientele over. “I had never tried a beer that needed to be drunk in a glass”, notes the chef, before adding: “From a gastronomic point of view, its impressive. It goes with nearly any dish! It is probably the favourite beer of my customers, who ask for “the opaque one” (in reference to its toasted, murky appearance)”.

 

Oitto: much more than a restaurant

Referring to Oitto as a restaurant falls somewhat short. Situated in the heart of Chiado, Lisbon’s most bohemian neighbourhood, Oitto is housed in impressive two-storey premises on the ground floor of a beautiful modernist building. Flooded by light due to the large number of windows, given its size the premises are divided into well-differentiated areas, boasting spectacular, eclectic decoration that combines the antique features of the building itself with industrial touches and iron and glass.

Oitto Restaurant, Lisbon

Oitto Restaurant © Oitto

The ground flood, with its bistro-style cuisine and Portuguese flavours, based on the concept of sharing plates and snacks, is the busiest section.

In the gastro bar on the upper floor diners can enjoy a gastronomic experience at the bar, without forgetting the drinks… There, the sommelier or the bartender can advise you on your orders in perfect harmony with the drinks menu!

The Chef’s Room is available for groups of eight to 12 people and is designed for a unique occasion, such as company dinners and celebrations, among others, with a menu based on a “tailor-made” format for each occasion. Designed for exclusive moments, the room is truly special.

Finally, on the Esplanade (the terrace), on the famous Largo do Picadeiro flanked by the historical São Carlos and São Luiz theatres, a selection of cold dishes, cold cuts, tartares, ceviches, salads and sandwiches are served. This is the perfect place to enjoy a casual or after-hours meal together with a wide variety of refreshing drinks to round off your experience at one of Lisbon’s most iconic spots.

Steak tartare. Restaurante Oitto, Lisboa

Steak tartare © Oitto

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