Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 28th 2014 Contents B8
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One Woodbrook Place is
becoming quite an interesting
place for lovers of great food. Not
long ago, the row of failed shops
on the huge plaza of Port-of-
Spain s most exclusive address,
looked and felt like an ill-con-
ceived retail wasteland.
But several new restaurants have
opened recently and on most
nights, there s a buzz as diners take
the opportunity to enjoy al fresco
One of the new places that s
quietly making a name for itself
is The Port, a fine dining restaurant
led by businessman Christian
Espinet and his executive chef
The Port is modern, comfortable
and unpretentious with good serv-
ice. This is exactly what owner
Espinet wanted when he decided
he wanted his own restaurant.
The 29-year-old isn t just a
businessman who feels a restaurant
is a good money-making oppor-
tunity. He is a proper foodie who
reads cookbooks like novels and
finds joy in early-morning trips to
the Central Market to ensure his
kitchen has only the freshest pro-
duce. Espinet lived in the US for
ten years, and worked at several
positions in the restaurant industry
there. As a result, he has a very
clear vision of what he wanted his
establishment to be like.
"I m aiming for a culture of
excellence here," Espinet said. "In
our team we want people to think
and constantly innovate."
Espinet is aiming for sustain-
ability and balance, and at The
Port, he wants to use as much local
produce as possible.
"Our local pork is top and our
tuna is top. We want to find a mid-
dle ground that s healthy, reflects
T&T s flavours and is also creative."
For that creativity, Espinet
turned to Glasgow, a protégé of
Khalid Mohammed, the highly-
regarded chef behind Chaud and
Glasgow is one of the "new
guard" of relatively young chefs
like Cristian Grini at Buzo and John
Aboud at Aioli who are at the fore-
front of local fine dining.
Shortly after leaving the T&T
Hospitality Institute, Glasgow
joined Mohammed at Battimam-
selle as a sous chef. "Khalid made
a heavy investment in my career
and for this I m really grateful. I
gained some invaluable experience
working with him."
He worked with Mohammed at
Chaud and was head chef when
he left in 2013 to do his own cater-
ing and personal cheffing.
"Initially I blanked Christian,"
he said with a cheeky laugh. "I
was enjoying doing my own thing."
But Espinet was determined and
Glasgow said he was eventually
won over by Espinet s passion and
clear vision of what he wanted.
Another thing that probably
convinced Glasgow of Espinet s
seriousness was his choice of Ital-
ian Michelin star chef Gianfranco
Chiarini as consultant chef for The
The Italian, known for his flair
and innovation, was here for a few
weeks to advise the team at The
Port on all aspects of the operation.
Impressed by T&T s various ethnic
influences and the wealth of pro-
duce available, Chiarini urged Glas-
gow and his team to use the local
flavours to their advantage.
And the result is an adventurous
menu that succeeds because of
accomplished cooking, bold
flavours and great flair.
Inspired by chef Chiarini, Glas-
gow s creativity comes through as
he puts a twist on some of our
accustomed flavours and delicacies.
So, you can have his take on
pholourie, served with basil gel,
tamarind, prawn and cilantro.
Curry crab and dumpling is the
influence for a pasta dish of tagli-
atelle with crab and coconut curry.
Most people are curious about
the use of sapodilla in the pork
belly with sapodilla barbecue sauce
served with sweet potato fries. The
sweet tanginess of the sapodilla
sauce works as a foil to the fattiness
of the pork belly.
The Port also boasts an extensive
sushi menu, including signature
rolls like the Volcano Roll (spicy
tuna, salmon skin, sriracha, tem-
pura flakes and eel sauce) and
Dancing Eel (cucumber, kanikama,
sriracha, unagi and tobiko).
One of the attractions at The
Port is the Friday special. The spe-
cial is a dish that focuses on one
ingredient. This week, lamb that
has been whole roasted in the
restaurant s roasting and smoking
closet is the special ingredient. The
lamb is served with a selection of
sides and sauces along with san-
gria, spritzer or beer for $100.
"I m trying to make Friday a
culinary showmanship day,"
Espinet said. "You come in and
get a well-executed, marvelous-
Espinet, Glasgow and the young,
dynamic team are on to something
good. The Port is certainly helping
to liven up the scene at One Wood-
The Port, Unit No 5,
One Woodbrook Plaza,
Opening hours: 11 am--11 pm.
Reservations are recommended
A line of amuse
bouche from The
ceviche in filo
At the July 29 opening of The Port, owner Christian Espinet, third from left, poses with sushi chef Jeremy
Tilokee, left, executive chef Akins Glasgow and general manager Kefim Leach. PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER
A gateway to fine
food at The Port
Chef Akins Glasgow puts the
finishing touch on his appetizer
of pholourie with prawn in
tamarind and mango chutney.
PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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