An Interview with 1811
Blandy’s Wine Lodge excitedly unveiled their brand new 1811 Bistro and Wine Bar back in August 2016. The space has a real eclectic feel – at once modern and traditional, it’s a blend of clean cut dishes and vibrant wines, combined with rustic stone floors and warm woods throughout. They serve everything from local to international, whilst retaining an expert focus on superb Portuguese wines and, of course, Madeira.
Just six months after opening we caught up with Roberto Caldeira, to reflect on the Bistro’s progress and chat about their projects for the future.
What are your thoughts on the first six months?
“The opening started gently, we had some challenges in making sure that we were getting the freshest produce from the local markets and liaising with the producers. But forming of the teams was the biggest one. It’s important to make sure you achieve a good dynamic amongst staff, and we are lucky now to have that running smoothly. Our attention has been mainly on our products, and ensuring that the vision that we created took on a real life of its own in the eyes of our clients. We’ve reached a good level, but there are further improvements to make which will be even more exciting.”
What are your hopes for the coming year?
“We’ve actually just finished developing a plan of action for the next year, including special dishes from around the world, and making sure that our menus are always updated according to the season and local availability. We want to keep striving to achieve dishes which are so delicious that diners want to share them across the table, like tapas.”
In the next few months there are also updates to come to the wine list, as Roberto wants to increase the range of single grape Portuguese wines on offer. “There are over 200 autochthonous grape varieties in Portugal, and we want to serve more and more of these mono-varietal wines at 1811.”
Can you sum up 1811’s main focus?
“It’s where rustic and modern come together in a new approach.”
So there you have it: an exciting first six months for this unique combination of old and new. 1811 brings together a selection of carefully chosen Portuguese and Madeira wines with superb dishes and a cohesive, smiling and enthusiastic team. As they say, “wine and gastronomy, tradition and sophistication, here we share a table’s worth of senses!” Definitely one to visit this year.