Casa Velha

Sophisticated French cuisine

\\ Text Maria Amélia Pires
\\ Photography Direitos Reservados

What was once a rustic farmhouse is now a mythical restaurant. In the 1970s, the strategic eye of André Jordan turned it into the epicentre of what would become the luxury resort and a golf refuge. The building housing Casa Velha dates from the first half of the 20th century and is one of Quinta do Lago’s historic landmarks. It has undergone renovation works over the years, but the most recent, in 2015, led to the creation of two different eateries: Bovino, a premium steakhouse, and a sophisticated retreat of French cuisine, retaining the original name, Casa Velha.

The French influences of chef Yannick Le Guichaoua cooking are dotted with Portuguese inspiration.

Married couple Yannick Guichaoua (chef) and Céline Guichaoua (Maître D’) had long been waiting for such changes. To the design of Essencia Architects and interior designer Sofia Andrez, Casa Velha has been transformed into a Mediterranean dream. Inside is reminiscent of Nordic settings, while the terrace, bordered with wrought iron, is a place of magical apparitions, both gastronomic and panoramic, on which diner’s gaze can wander over golf greens, the sun, reflected in the lake or the distance line of the sea.

The new sophistication has been joined by a new menu, giving diners the choice of two tasting menus (Signature and Epicure), with or without wine pairing, or the choice of tempting à la carte suggestions. Throughout the line-up of dishes you can sense the gastronomic maturity of chef Yannick, who fine-tuned his craft in some of the most prestigious restaurants. French influences of his cooking style are dotted with Portuguese inspiration, because the chef insists on uses local produce of exceptional quality wherever possible, giving a new and creative twist to classic dishes. At the same time Céline Guichaoua and her team ensure impeccable front of house service. It is no surprise therefore that Madame and Monsier Guichaoua have a very loyal clientele.

From time to time, the Guichaouas hold gastronomic events, such as one organised recently, dedicated to Billecart-Salmon champagnes. The dinner event, held for just 35 guests, included a menu of seven moments created by chef Yannick Le Guichaoua and pairing with commentary from Antoine Billecart, Billecart-Salmon’s managing director.

On the specially decorated terrace, the backdrop of a golden horizon, dotted with the silhouettes of luxury villas, accompanied the fizz of flute glasses and the gurgling of the fountain. The air was heavy with the scent of lavender, pine trees and soft aroma of the sea. And the sweet voice of Madame Céline can still be heard: «Bonsoir, bienvenu à Casa Velha. Votre table est prête!»…