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    Explore The Breathtaking Views And Innovative Cuisines At Madeira Rooftop Restaurant

    When you enter the elevator at the upscale Views Baía hotel in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and go up to the rooftop, you will arrive at Desarma, a recently established high-class eatery that made its debut just last year.

    Upon the doors of the elevator opening, you will be welcomed by a spacious area containing a large open kitchen where a team of chefs in white attire and caramel-colored aprons are diligently preparing dishes, resembling scientists in a laboratory creating new flavors. Through the tall windows, you can admire the sparkling lights of Funchal in the night.

    The restaurant, designed by Atelier Nini Andrade Silva, is well-lit to establish a calm and cozy atmosphere, with lighting fixtures adjusted to the perfect level of brightness.

    The dining tables vary in size, some perfect for couples enjoying the romantic ambiance. Next to us, there was a larger table accommodating six people who were on the island for a gastronomic project with RTE, Ireland’s state television network.

    The exotic feel of Madeira is reflected in a large decorative banana palm leaf and two impressive wooden sculptures resembling thick tree trunks.

    We were promptly led to our table by the native host from Madeira, Alexandre Nuno Fernandes Franco, while his colleague, Sergio Marques, a wine expert from Venezuela, immediately began describing the extensive wine collection available. Just five minutes after leaving the elevator, we were off to an excellent start with glasses of invigorating Mailly Grand Cru champagne made exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes.

    The culinary philosophy of the local head chef, Octávio Freitas, is embodied in the restaurant’s name – a ‘clash of flavors experienced in the mouth,’ starting with an ‘encounter,’ followed by an ‘attack,’ and concluding in ‘surrender.’ In essence, get ready to be impressed.

    Together with his team, Octávio has curated a balanced land and sea menu that honors the iconic ingredients of the island. To fully savor the experience, we opted for the tasting menu with wine pairings rather than the à la carte option, blending molecular gastronomy and presentation to evoke the heritage and landscape of Madeira.

    Our initial course, presented in a black ceramic bowl resembling intricately crafted ancient pottery, was a velvety fusion of sweet potatoes, truffles, and dashi, topped with hay-like sweet potato flakes.

    Followed by Espetada de atum, or spit-grilled tuna served on a flat bronze plate with bay leaf and roasted garlic slow-cooked over hot coals. The texture of the tuna resembled tartare, melting effortlessly in our mouths. Subsequently, a crumbly, cookie-like concoction of dry limpets with aged beef tartare and mushroom gel, shaped like a mini-burger.

    For seafood lovers, a burst of vibrant flavors emanates from a bonbon-like capsule of black scabbard roe with rye crumb and bottarga shavings. Grilled trout from Seixal, delicately paired with eel pudding and smoked seaweed broth, also impresses with its refined taste. Additionally, red scarlet shrimp with passion fruit jelly and apricot emulsion provide a unique gastronomic experience.

    Given that Funchal got its name from the Portuguese word for fennel, which was abundant on the island during its discovery, it was no surprise when this anise-like herb appeared as a refreshing accompaniment to parrot fish.

    Chef Octávio’s appreciation for locally grown Madeiran produce (he grows organic vegetables and produces his wine) was evident in my dining partner’s dessert choice – a reconstructed Madeira cake, a light choux pastry filled with island cane honey custard, adorned with dried fruits, nuts, and cacao nibbles on top. My dessert featured a combination of pineapple and banana slices in cane honey, tantalizingly spiced with a hint of pepper sauce.

    The wine pairings throughout the evening, expertly chosen by sommelier Joao Barbosa, perfectly matched each dish. Particularly remarkable was the Madeiran Barbeito – made from tinta negra grapes, boasting a dark color with aromatic hints of toffee, coffee, molasses, chocolate, and jam, and possessing a rich and velvety texture.

    With Madeira’s pleasant climate for the majority of the year, Disarma guests have the opportunity to dine outdoors on a lovely terrace, perfect for mild evenings on the island. Additionally, twelve counter seats around the open kitchen offer a Chef’s Table experience.

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