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Turning Tables: The Ritz-Carlton Opens a New Hotel and Restaurant in Oregon

Who’s behind it: Bellpine is within the newly opened The Ritz-Carlton, Portland, in Portland, Ore. Helming the kitchen is executive chef Pedro Almeida, the chef behind Midori inside the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort in Sintra, Portugal. There he blends Portuguese cuisine with the traditions of Japanese cooking. Almeida will oversee the Portland hotel’s entire culinary program. Joining him in the kitchen is Portland chef Lauro Romero, formerly of restaurants Clandestino and República; at the latter, opened in 2020, he garnered acclaim for his modern Mexican cuisine.

When it opened: Both the hotel and restaurant debuted Oct. 31, 2023.

Why you should know about it: The addition of the 35-story Ritz-Carlton to downtown Portland indicates that the hospitality landscape in the Rose City, within driving distance of Oregon’s renowned Willamette Valley wine region is continuing to grow.

Bellpine aptly fits into Portland’s culinary hodgepodge of exciting restaurants while bringing a measure of luxury and tapping into the finest that the Pacific Northwest offers. “Lauro is someone who can speak to the people of Portland,” said John Roussin, Bellpine’s restaurant manager and sommelier, who explained this is key for drawing both locals and hotel guests to the restaurant.

The culinary approach: Roussin said the menu subtly highlights Romero’s experience with Latin American flavors while playing to Almeida’s background. The result is a multicultural and modern American menu with plenty of whimsy, one that taps local ingredients such as geoduck, mushrooms and truffles. One recent dish that showcases Bellpine’s culinary ethos is a savory take on a traditional buñuelo (a type of dough fritter), which is filled with avocado mousse and topped with shaved geoduck, serrano ham and Fresno chiles; Bellpine’s culinary team finishes the dish with guajillo chile oil, a dollop of caviar and puffed amaranth.

[article-img-container][src=2024-01/restaurant-news-bellpine-portland-oregon-chefs-table-b-020824_1600.jpg] [credit= (The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)] [alt= The white-topped chef’s table at Bellpine, beneath circular glass lighting fixtures and near a tan, wood-paneled wall][end: article-img-container]

Another recent highlight is seared diver scallops with Rainier cherry salsa, cranberry cocoa butter and a dollop of fresh trout roe. “It takes a creative mastermind to put these ingredients together, but it’s everything I could want [from a bite],” Roussin said. “It’s got rich, sweet flavors from the scallops, and the cocoa butter coats the palate … and the tang from the cherries and pops of trout roe.”

While the menu is centered on sharing, it’s not all small plates. Large entrées include a cedar plank salmon with potlatch seasoning and yuzu hollandaise, as well as a 32-ounce, 30-day dry-aged, smoked rib eye steak with aioli and jam.

What’s on the wine list: With more than 200 labels, the wine list zeroes in on Oregon’s most celebrated wineries, including Argyle, Adelsheim, Bergström and Penner-Ash. Roussin said Oregon and Washington wineries comprise 40 to 50 percent of the list, with a heavy dose of Champagne and little bits of everything else from around the wine world. “Since opening, I’ve gotten to know the chefs better and figure out what they’re doing with the food, and the list has doubled,” he said.

Roussin noted that he’s also begun bringing in lesser-known, food-friendly Oregon varieties such as Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc from Columbia Gorge, as well as wines from Tuscany and Piedmont as a natural fit for the heartier dishes.

The Design: Bellpine is named after a type of marine sedimentary soil found in the Pacific Northwest. The restaurant embraces the name, drawing inspiration from its surroundings. Design elements include a ruffle-textured ceiling that evokes the underside of a wild mushroom. Oregon’s dramatic coastline, dotted with tidepools and notable for its iconic Haystack Rock formation, is evoked by the dining room’s sandy colors and shades of blue and green. During daylight hours, tall windows bring in light and offer a panoramic view from the 20th floor; in the evening, the 170-seat restaurant becomes moodier and takes on richer earth tones, with copper accents sparkling throughout.—A.R.

Anguilla’s Malliouhana Resort Unveils New Wine Wine Program Developed by Shelley Lindgren

Who’s behind it: Located on Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean, luxury resort Malliouhana, first owned by wine collector Leon Roydon, held a Wine Spectator Grand Award for many years. After a change in ownership and management, and a couple renovations, in 2023, Storey Hotel Management Group took over from Auberge Resorts. “They reached out to me—as longtime friends—and asked me to come and start steps towards revitalizing the wine program,” leading San Francisco Bay Area wine pro Shelley Lindgren told Wine Spectator via email.

Lindgren is the wine director and co-owner of Italian restaurants SPQR and A16 in San Francisco, as well as a second A16 restaurant in Oakland, Calif. (All three restaurants previously held Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards for their wine programs.) In addition, she is the co-author of Italian Wine and a champion for wines from Southern Italy.

When things got started: Malliouhana reopened its doors and premiered its new wine program in November for its 2023–2024 season.

[article-img-container][src=2024-01/restaurant-news-malliouhana-shelley-lindgren-delroy-lake-012524_1600.jpg] [credit= (K-Sharp Media)] [alt= Delroy Lake and Shelley Lindgren at Malliouhana Resort][end: article-img-container]

The new wine program: “[We] have about 3,300 bottles to begin,” said Lindgren of the resort-wide program, which encompasses more than 300 labels. Lindgren is working alongside Malliouhana food and beverage manager Delroy Lake and Albert Lake, the longtime sommelier who developed the original Malliouhana wine program for Roydon. “It’s a wonderful legacy for [Albert Lake], as he has also spent 40 years being the island’s most revered sommelier,” said Lindgren. “It’s an honor to work alongside this project.”

More than 20 wines are served by the glass, including Chablis from La Chablisienne, several Ports and more. And Lindgren expanded the sparkling list with grower Champagne.

The main focuses: France is key, with wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley and the Rhône Valley. Those are joined by bottlings from Italy—including Piedmont’s Gaja and Tuscany’s Antinori—as well as California, Oregon, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. “We hope guests visiting Malliouhana can find many new wines along with styles and selections they know and enjoy,” said Lindgren, who notes that much of the list has a “coastal” element, exemplified by Txakolina from Spain and Assyrtiko from Greece.

[article-img-container][src=2024-02/restaurant-news-malliouhana-resort-012524_1600.jpg] [credit= (Courtesy of Malliouhana Resort)] [alt= A set table on a balcony with white walls at Malliouhana Resort, overlooking the Caribbean Sea][end: article-img-container]

Room for dessert: The new dessert wine program includes about a dozen selections, with a beerenauslese from Austria’s Kracher, vendange tardive from Alsace’s Léon Beyer and Tokaji Aszú from Hungary’s Oremus Tokaji.

Wine-and-Dining Experiences: Each Malliouhana restaurant also features “exclusive selections” from California and Europe. Signature restaurant Celeste added bottles to complement executive chef Robert Hopkin’s Caribbean- and Mediterranean-influenced menu; these include wine from Tansy, a California label that focuses on Italian varieties and Italy-inspired wines that Lindgren co-founded with business partner Kitty Oestlien in 2020. Bar Soleil, a seaside Caribbean-cuisine spot, offers wines from Mediterranean island regions like Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. And the beachside Leon’s at Meads Bay features an “All Day Rosé” selection. “The [Malliouhana] menu ranges, with mainly Mediterranean flavors, so the European influence on wine seems to be a natural fit,” said Lindgren. “The fresh seafood is the star with a local lobster unique to Anguilla, conch, tableside ceviche and pasta.”

Looking ahead: Lindgren and the team plan to host wine-focused dinners quarterly; Lindgen is also opening an A16 pop-up takeaway counter this month and will soon launch an education program on cooking and wine.—C.D.

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