If you were looking for skilled service, beautifully crafted menus and intricate dishes look elsewhere. This place is all about no-frills authenticity. And it’s all about the food, or at least, it’s all about the octopus. You may be thinking why would anyone get excited about eating octopus?
This is still one of my top 10 restaurants and my current favourite in Porto. It specialises in traditional Portuguese food that has been elevated to a fine foods standard. But don’t be fooled by the hauteur of the food. This place has got lots of soul. The atmosphere is intimate, subdued and rustic. Think exposed stone walls, cast iron props and traditional pottery.
The service is impeccable, with a good balance between attentive and friendly. It’s the kind of service that is always there but you don’t see it. Your needs are looked after permanently – as you remove your coat, it gently and swiftly gets taken away, your glass is always full, the table always clean, and you barely notice it all happening around you.
This is a traditional Christmas dessert I have grown up with. It’s a kind of Pain Perdu (or French Toast), soaked in a sweet syrup with cinnamon. The main difference is that Pain Perdu is soaked in egg and ‘Rabanadas’ are soaked in milk and then coated in egg. And one is mostly eaten at breakfast, whilst the other is a dessert. They are usually fried and the syrup is mainly made of sugar and cinnamon. My Mum and I decided to make some changes and make them slightly healthier by cooking the ‘Rabanadas’ in the oven and adding some interest to the syrup. For this, we took inspiration from a recipe from one of my favourite blogs (As Minhas Receitas) by a wonderful Portuguese cook, called Joana Roque. We made some changes to the syrup, the main one replacing the raisins (because they’re not my favourite thing) with chopped dried figs (which are one of my favourite things).