Mini Bar by José Avillez, Lisbon

It’s our last day in Lisbon and we wanted to end with a good meal. Unfortunately Belcanto is not opened and we settled for Mini Bar opened by the same chef – Jose Avillez. To a certain extend, our visit to Mini Bar might be a prelude to a place we are visiting for the final meal of our trip that will end in Barcelona – Tickets.  Both are similar in nature, in fact Mini Bar is said to pay homage of sorts to Tickets as Chef Jose Avillez once worked for Ferran Adrià at El Bulli. Ferran‘s younger brother, Albert, now runs Tickets which is a casual and fun, cinematic-themed bar.

Mini Bar, being a gastro pub, serves food in small bite sized portions. Instead of choosing the items ourselves, we opted for the “Epic Menu” which includes a total of 11 items decided by the chef.

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While we were enjoying our cocktails of Pomar Amarguinha, Apple and Lemon and Pessoa Absolut Blue Vodka, Triple Sec, Lemon, Pineapple; we were served the first item which is “Mini cocktails to bite”. They are actually green apple and spearmint Margarita in solidified state. So we got to “eat” our Margaritas instead of drinking it.

Up next was El Bulli olives 2005 XL-LX size. The legendary liquid olives is one of the first reverse spherification dishes that was introduced at el Bulli. Although I’m not an olive lover, I had to try this iconic snack. I would love to compare the ones served here versus the ones at Tickets =)

As expected, after slipping the sphere into our mouths, we felt the “pop” sensation before tasting the olive juice flowing out. It was notable that reverse spherification resulted in a sphere with a thicker membrane than with basic spherification. We could feel the membrane after it pops. After tasting this olive, I realised that it’s not that I don’t like olives, I only don’t like pickled olives!

Moving on, we had the Ferrero Rocher, not what it appears to be! Belcanto 2011. It may look like the dessert chocolate from the outside but it’s filling tasted salty because it’s foie gras mousse.

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Algarve prawns in ceviche was the 3rd snack we had, it has fresh prawns marinated in citrus juices resulting in a perfect sweet and sour taste. The 4th snack was a cracker, literally…“Roasted chicken” with avocado cream, cottage cheese, piri piri and lemon. Crispy chicken skin cracker with several different sauce toppings on it, sprinkled with a dash of the spicy piri piri. It’s an explosion of flavours and textures in my mouth.

Didn’t get a clear shot of the Beef tartar cone with mustard emulsion and Tuna tartar temaki cone with spicy soy. Interesting presentation as well as the fusion element of having diced tuna wrapped in crispy seaweed cone.

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In a wink of an eye, we reached the 8th dish – LT egg with parmesan. I have no idea why its called “LT egg”, but it tasted like our soft-boiled egg covered under a pile of parmesan cheese. We are supposed to mix it up before eating.

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Another Asian flavoured dish came – Pan seared scallops with Thai flavours. The scallops were chewy and incredibly fresh, placed on a mini hot-plate and served with what tasted like green curry gravy. An aromatic and spice-filled dish.

The last main dish was a typical American food – JAburger with PDO beef. Though it appears to be a simple, straightforward dish, I luv the potato croquette with spicy mayo. Something different from the typical fries =)

Dessert was what looked like a green ball sitting on a lettuce plate. Hmmm…I think it would be better if they could serve this on a oyster shell~ Making it looked like a jade pearl? Anyway this Globo lima-limão tasted like a giant lime sorbet! My facial muscles spasmed multiple times while trying to finish this…I’m extremely sensitive to anything sour… (>_<)

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Bill came in a wooden box and we finished our meal with petit fours. Noticed how Mini Bar’s card looked like vintage tickets? A reflection of the fun, theatrical theme of the eatery.

Other photos taken:


Spent our afternoon exploring Alfama area. Waited a short while for the iconic Tram 28 to pass in front of Cathedral Se so as to replicate a classic scene always seen on postcards. We also marvelled at the colourful tiles used in the external facades of the buildings in the Alfama area. These walls make excellent backdrops and we had fun posing in front of them – trust me, they make great artistic portraits!


Getting disoriented and exploring Alfama to discover the numerous Miraduoros (lookouts) is part of the fun. We stopped by Miraduoro da Graca (top) and Miradouro das Portas do Sol (bottom) and for great view of the town.


The weather was cloudy on the day we visited Alfama or we would have climbed further uphill to Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte to see sunset. We reckoned that we couldn’t catch nice sunset views that day (it started raining when we headed back to our hotel). Although tiring, it was certainly fun to explore Alfama on foot instead of taking tram and we also found a pretty graffiti wall in the area. Once again we had fun posing for photos as the vibrant colours makes it a great photo spot.

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