We have joined forces with the lovely people at olive Magazine to bring you a spankin’ new series about the best places to enjoy a boozy lunch in the capital. The ultimate food porn. olive is to food what BarChick it to booze so if you’re as in to your sushi as you are your Sweet Manhattans you should probably check out their Facebook page.
With a menu peppered with unfamiliar words it makes sense to get chummy with the waiter. Luckily, we’re looked after by Richard Weiss, restaurant host extraordinaire and just the man to introduce London to the skills of Portuguese chef Luis Baena. .
He recommends we kick off with an O Real a ginjinh apertif made by infusing ginja berries (sour cherry) in alcohol and adding sugar and Cava. We drink this while pondering what ‘cacholeira’ and ‘papada’ might mean: the first, we discover, is a pork sausage similar to chorizo, and in a dish called favinhas estufadas, it’s served with sweet little broad beans, and tomato. Papada turns out to be piggy, too: a silky slice of fat on toast, topped with pata negra and truffle oil along with bone marrow: it’s a very indulgent start. Mains continue in the same vein: mano-o-mano is oxtail, veal cheek and artichoke and deliciously sticky: hot smoked swordfish is served with gloriously green rice (coloured by seaweed, we’re told). We keep the bread on the table; it’s served with a truffled egg yolk as well as olive oil and sheep’s butter: yet despite the richness of the ingredients, everything is beautifully balanced . All the while we work our way through Richard’s wine suggestions; the blend of verdejo, albarino and godello in a bottle of Cesar Munoz Cienfuegos de la Tierra Castilla y Leon proving far easier to drink than pronounce.
Décor: relaxed and unpretentious, the dining space is all wood and neutral colours with touches of rustic white and blue Portuguese tiling.
Diners: Notting Hill’s finest: a good-looking, confident bunch, the noise levels rise as the wine goes down
Dessert: an update of Portuguese classics, the famous custard tart is here, as is an amazing frozen walnut tart with chocolate and toffee and crystalised basil.