Winner of the Portuguese edition of Top Chef and now of a Michelin star for his Restaurant Loco, Chef Alexandre Silva has become one of Lisobn’s most exciting Chefs.
Having headed Bocca, one of Lisbon’s top restaurants, before becoming a familiar face in Top Chef, he opened his Loco restaurant in 2015 and has been delighting the most demanding of foodies there since. A restaurant with no menu, where you’re left in the capable hands of the Chef for the entirety of the meal, it’s quite a unique concept in the city and certainly an incredibly promising one.
Having chosen Lisbon – more especifically, the Estrela neighbourhood – for his own restaurant, we wanted to know all about his views on the city.
His interview, below:
– Secret location?
My house in Lisbon.
– Best view?
I love the view from the Rua Augusta Arch, it gives me a great perspective over the city’s architecture and the stature of the Tagus River.
– A guilty pleasure?
Corn bread and Serra Cheese…
– Where can we find you on any given Sunday?
Working at Loco (we only close on Mondays).
– A trend for Lisbon’s future?
Street food – I miss the smell of charcoal in the streets. Lisbon is a gastronomic city, it would be great to find someone randomly roasting sardines in the street.
What’s your favourite summer drink?
A Pisco Sour at Cinco Lounge.
– Where do you like to unwind?
I like to go for lunch with my wife and daughter; there’s nothing better to relax than to be with them, I just forget about everything else.
– Something you cannot resist?
A good glass of wine – I simply cannot resist one.
– What can you do here & nowhere else?
Contemplate life while walking from one restaurant to the other.
– What’s your favourite beach?
Baleal Beach, in Peniche. But I’ve never been much of a beach person – I’m more of a countryside person, you can also get quite the tan!
– A favourite daytrip from Lisbon? And why?
Peniche. I used to go there as a child and I love going back to the same place, feel the energy and the smells of this fishing town.
– Someone NOT to be stuck in an elevator with?
– Why did you choose to open your restaurant in Lapa, near Basilica da Estrela? What are the main features about the neighbourhood that you were attracted to?
I chose Lapa because Loco is a small restaurant, and I wanted it to have the tranquil spirit of being away from the bustle of the city centre. I’d like it to be seen as something familiar, where you find the hospitality that you can only find in Lisbon’s most typical neighbourhoods; I love saying good monring to my neighbours and feel like people care about us. I also believe that Loco is a change, and that all places in Lisbon are great to open a restaurant, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the city centre.
– Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere – a rock, a song… anything.
– Do you have one favourite ingredient? That you always tend to use?
Salt – I always tend to use it!
– If you had to go back to Top Chef, which dish would you bring to win it?
The Mullet with Bergamot from Loco, it was the dish that surprised me most in recent years.
– Something in your kitchen at home you can’t live without?
A toaster! (laughing)
– Whats on the menu at home tonight?
I’ll be at Loco tonight, so I guess there won’t be a menu at home.
– A dish you’ve tasted you wish you’d have come up with?
“Camouflage” by Atsushi Tanaka at AT Restaurant in Paris.
– Craziest combination you’ve tried that actually works?
Duck with horse mackerel – that is part of the Loco menu right now.
– Who (alive or dead) would you like to invite for a four-hands pop-up dinner experience?
I’d love to invite Ferran Adriá…trong