Lisboeta London restaurant assessment | The Week UK

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Because the pandemic, 1000’s of Brits have traded pie and mash for pastel de natas, swapping their life within the UK for a stint in Portugal, the European capital of distant working. However for these of us who’re contractually tied to our Blighty-based desks, openings like Lisboeta are – fortunately – bringing Portgual to us (a minimum of by way of our tastebuds).

The brainchild of Lisbon-born chef Nuno Mendes, whose CV contains turns at Bacchus in Hoxton, Viajante in Bethnal Inexperienced, Maos in Shoreditch and the Chiltern Firehouse, the flamboyant celeb hangout in Marylebone, the much-hyped Lisboeta opened its doorways in March 2022. 

The area

Situated in a sensible, three-storey townhouse within the coronary heart of restaurant-land (Charlotte Avenue in Fitzrovia), Lisboeta’s warmly lit inside, which options mild wooden and an earthy palate, supplies an informal, welcoming really feel. A crowded gallery wall on the higher ground jogs my memory of the RA’s Summer time Exhibition and provides a welcome burst of color, whereas the prolonged limestone bar on the bottom stage is the right place to throw again a white port and tonic. 

A crowded gallery wall on the upper floor

The impact is paying homage to the relaxed model and ambiance of Lisbon’s many acclaimed eating places, and is simply one of many many ways in which Lisboeta is, a minimum of in Mendes’s personal phrases, a “love letter to Lisbon”. 

I’m seated on the primary ground, by the gallery wall and a big sash window, and though each desk right here is occupied I can’t assist however really feel some “fomo” at not being a part of the hubbub downstairs. I make a psychological word to request a bar stool on my subsequent go to.

Consuming and consuming

The meals menu is break up into three sections: snacks, charcuterie & cheese; petiscos (Portuguese-style small plates designed to share); and tachos & travessas (bigger pots and platters). For a desk of two, a really helpful order is 2 objects from the snack part, two or three small plates, and one pot/platter to share – after which dessert, in fact.

Aerial view of food on a table at Lisboeta

As we determine what to order, my buddy and I nibble on the “couvert” (a play on the carby cowl cost typically included on the invoice in conventional European eating places). Right here, Coombeshead farm bread is served with a dish of olive oil and one other of whipped pork lard “unto” – a millennial pink pâté which I might have simply eaten unaccompanied with a spoon, had I not been in a flowery restaurant. The dip is delightfully clean and smokey, however a reasonably small portion for 2 folks sharing. 

For our petiscos, we go for the cured mackerel on toast, which, together with roasted inexperienced peppers and white onion, adorns two slender eggy soldier-shaped slices of buttery toast. This dish may be my spotlight, with the sharp mackerel completely complemented by the candy onion – and it’s gone far too quickly in two crunchy, crumby bites. 

A heat vindalho empanada is up subsequent – a Goan-inspired pork pie that’s far much less spicy than its title suggests. The scale of a lychee, this crumbly snack will not be appropriate for sharing (though it could make an ideal canapé at a marriage). At £4 a mouthful, this dish is way from good worth for cash – however the scrumptious flaky, buttery pastry and delicate but flavourful spices make it a Lisboeta must-order.

The Goan-spiced empanada

One other spotlight is the aged bavette steak which comes completely pink and thinly sliced and is served with broccoli and an onion, garlic and pork “pica pau” sauce. On the unusual facet, however certainly not a poor selection, is the “Bacalhau à Brás” – a beige mess of confit cod and onions buried underneath a mass of crunchy fried matchstick-like potatoes. It sounds prefer it shouldn’t work, but it surely does.

The cured amberjack from the Azores islands, served with orange and onion, is to not my style, as I discover the orange overpowers the flavour of the skinny slices of fish. Disappointing, too, is the “Arroz de Marisco” – a heavy purple prawn and seafood rice dish served in a kitchen saucepan. The heads of the prawns are introduced over individually by our charming Portuguese waiter, who recommends we squeeze the juices over the rice. We enthusiastically oblige and expectations are excessive as we take our first chunk. Neither of us expects the sauce to style so candy, so Ketchup-like, and we don’t make a lot of a dent within the pan. 

A red prawn and seafood rice dish

Lisboeta’s showstopper dessert, Mendes’ tackle a traditional pastel de nata, which options pork fats custard and port wine caramel, has sadly offered out, however we do pattern the opposite three desserts on the menu. By far the most effective is the “Bolo de Bolacha”, a conventional no-bake Portuguese biscuit cake with buttercream, espresso and ice cream. It’s the right approach to convey my power – or sugar – ranges again up after my wealthy, carb-heavy most important programs.

Verdict

For conventional Portuguese dishes (however sadly with central London, reasonably than Lisbon, costs), Lisboeta is an genuine and atmospheric spot. Whereas my expertise was positively extra hit than miss, there have been a few dishes that weren’t to my style – however that positively wouldn’t cease me from returning.

Lisboeta, 30 Charlotte Avenue, London W1T 2NG

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