Sem Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lisbon, Portugal.

This March, acclaimed Portuguese restaurant Sem is coming to Auckland for two nights only

Celebrated by locals and international travellers alike, Lisbon restaurant and wine bar Sem is known for more than just its exquisite Portuguese cuisine. Its name means ‘without’ in Portuguese, and the award-winning establishment is dedicated to a bold zero-waste kitchen policy to create a net positive effect on the environment. Food offcuts are fermented and preserved, no plastic packaging or rubbish bins are in sight, and produce is foraged or grown through regenerative agriculture.

Restaurant Sem Black Garlic and Sourdough Bread with Tamari Vinegar Poached Shiitakes, Grilled Matsutake and a Wastershire Emulsion with Julienned Matsutake Legs dressed in a Smoked Mushroom and Chilli Miso Oil.

With such an audacious approach to sustainable cuisine, it is perhaps no surprise that an element of homegrown ingenuity is at play. Sem is co-run by Kiwi chef George McLeod (formerly of London’s Silo) and his Brazilian-Portuguese partner Lara Espirito Santo. And for the first time ever, McLeod and Santo are set to bring a piece of Portugal to New Zealand, teaming up with an old friend and local hospitality personality Carlo Buenaventura of Bar Magda on Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of March.

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From left: Bar Magda Eggplant Relleno with Cucumber, Wakame and Sauce Morado, Watermelon Cocktail with Strawberry, Mezcal, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse and Mint Sherbet.

Speaking of the extravaganza, Buenaventura tells me we can expect a memorable four-course feast (including cocktail and wine pairings). Melding the best of Portuguese and Buenaventura’s native Filipino cuisine, dishes will feature the freshest baby corn, oysters, seafood, venison and more. 

From left: Bar Magda interior, Market Fish en Papillote with Preserved Fennel, Wakame, Tobiko and Sauce Pinangat.

“Boa comida e bons momentos!” Buenavetura says, translating to “Good food and good times!” It is a motto he lives by and speaks to his unrivalled passion for creating daring culinary experiences.

Set to take the local dining scene by storm, secure your tickets to the Sem and Bar Magda collaboration here. Held on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March 2023, tickets are $115, or $180 including drinks pairings. 

Bar Magda

25B Cross St
Auckland 1010


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