Belo Horizonte restaurant week: Oak

I had a great weekend making the most of restaurant week in Belo Horizonte. It’s called restaurant week but actually runs for two weeks from 18th feb – 10th march. During this time several restaurants across the city take part by offering a special 3 course dinner menu for R$47,90. Many are offering an even cheaper lunch menu too.

On Friday evening my husband and I booked a table at Oak Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lourdes. We had been once before so we had high hopes for the food, and we were not disappointed.

Oak Restaurant Week Menu Belo Horizonte

Oak Restaurant Week Menu Belo Horizonte

We arrived at around 8.30pm and the restaurant was pretty quiet. We presumed that the earlier rain shower had kept people at home. We took our seats on the veranda and chose a bottle of red wine we had never tried before, a Cepas Nobles 2009 Tannat from Uruguay. The sommelier at Oak is both charming and knowledgeable, and described the wine in detail and discussed our usual taste preferences before opening it, to check that we were happy with our choice. The wine was a little sharp to begin with (we are rather loyal Malbec drinkers on the whole) but it soon mellowed and we enjoyed it.

Then came the food. We chose a starter of bacalhau and white beans with pancetta, which was small but delicious. I always prefer quality over quantity so that was fine with me.

Bacalhau with white beans and pancetta

Bacalhau with white beans and pancetta

During our starter the restaurant suddenly filled up and there were even people waiting for tables. We did notice that our main course came immediately after our starter, when we might normally prefer a small break, and I’m sure that is due to the limited menu and the desire for turning-over tables if possible. We didn’t mind on this occasion and when it came to dessert, we did have a break and didn’t feel rushed at all.

For main course I had bife de chorizo which was well cooked, and my husband had the prawn ravioli which was apparently delicious.

Chocolate tart with orange compote and ginger coulis

Chocolate tart with orange compote and ginger coulis

The dessert however has been in my dreams ever since. Combining three of my all time favourite flavours: chocolate, orange and ginger, this dessert to me was phenomenal. I spent an age eating it in tiny mouthfuls so that it would last longer. It is not only how well the food is prepared at Oak and the flavour combinations, but also the presentation of the food at this restaurant surpasses many of the others I have tried in BH, which adds to the whole experience. It is not quite Michelin star dining, but Chef Bruno Albergaria makes a good effort.

Just a main course here normally costs upwards of R$60, so to have 3 courses for less than this is a great deal, and a great excuse to get out and try somewhere new. I might even go back to try their lunch menu!

If you haven’t taken advantage of this great incentive yet then don’t worry, you have until next Sunday 10th March. Go to http://www.restaurantweek.com.br/restaurantes/bh/todos to see the restaurants taking part and their special menus. And I hear that Sao Paulo restaurant week is just starting too! Now that must be in a whole different league…

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