Wednesday, 24 November 2010

O descanso em Lisboa


Central hall of the Mercado de ribeiro
A long weekend in Lisbon.
Come Rain, come Obama, 
come clouds, come Cameron, 
come Sarkhozy, come sunshine,come Merkel....
The NATO circus did not prevent us 
from reaching our own favourite summit 
of The Bairro Alto.

The first thing on my mind when I arrive in a city is FOOD!!! My priority is always to visit the local markets, padarias, confeiterias,mercearias and check out the restaurants.
Buy lettuce!
Drawing of a figure walking to the right,
back slightly turned toward us. Staff in the left hand.
Bright red shorts, tightened below the knees. 
Light Brown coat with collar and pockets.
Cuffs with a button. White stockings and black shoes.
Hat, Donkey with wood side baskets carrying lettuce.
Photography Andrew j Roberts
Hotel As Janelas verdes
Inter city travel Alpha Pendular
transportes regiao de Lisboa



Fresh water! Milk!
On entering the loggia of the Mercado ribeiro one is not only impressed by the tile panels but by a series of characterful faded photographic reproductions  of engravings from a series by M.Godilho, entitled Os Vendilhoes, 1809.These are accompanied by very detailed captions that read like the credits in a fashion magazine -
Buy Lettuce! Milk! Cabbage!Fresh water! 
Varina ( fish seller) waiting for the fish to arrive.As one passes through the main hall and on through the floral hall,I become aware that the final hall is not fully subscribed to its quota of stalls.Even in the capital the municipal market is diminishing. A sign of the times. 
To be armed with a list of recommendations is always a good thing, but to discover your own special places is much more rewarding.Andrew checked out Trip advisor and I emailed David Leite before we left to get his list of recommendations.Sadly things have ( not surprisingly ) changed since your time there David.We looked forward to a dinner of Alentejan delicias at a charcutaria, one of your choices. Your recommendation was reinforced by us by an amazingly well written online review by James Martin.So what has happened? Our order had been taken when the waiter cunningly put two tasty looking couverts ( non- obligatory purchase amuse bouche).Normal procedure sees the couvert being served as an appetiser while you select from the menu. Huh, we were off to a bad start. Water was not put on the table but our glasses were regularly topped up regardless and we were obviously charged for all the bottles he had poured!!! Having eaten the delicious warm octopus salad and broad beans peppers and sweet potato, we then moved on to our starters of chourico and scrambled egg. Oh dear we´d misunderstood the translation. A very tasty breakfast or lunch dish, but not for dinner after one had already eaten two large starters. Our two main courses, loin of pork with clams and lamb chops with potatoes in a clear broth, were nothing to write to the Alentejo about!! What was the damage? €95 and we had been charged for a third main course!!! Inexcusable !! They weren´t exactly rushed off their feet, with only two other diners in the house.With a €15 adjustment to our bill we adeusinho´d off into the night and there will be no second visit.One restaurant name had stuck in our memory, Number 8 of 478 on Trip advisor, Flor de Laranja.  
After a very disappointing first dinner, the thought of a traditional Moroccan meal in our already favoured quarter of the city, Bairro Alto, by far outweighed any appetite for regional or typical Portuguese cuisine. What a discovery, at the top of a steep street we opened the door of number 206 Rua de Rosa, went down 3 steps into a small room ( 6 tables, 20 covers ) and were given an exceptionally warm welcome by Rabea. Chicken briouats sprinkled with confectioners sugar and meat rolls were our chosen starters, followed by a delicious lamb and artichoke tagine with plentiful peas and a sizzling spicy prawn dish.Rabea had 12 diners including ourselves and was completely hands on. Cooking all the food herself, serving it, and still having time for pleasantries with all her customers. We were the last to leave, and Rabea gave us two fantastic recommendations that we would never have found. A restaurant in a moorish palace,-the Casa de Alentejo just blew us away.- a hidden jewel, a Rhiad in the centre of Lisbon!! Her second pointer was to Pavilhao Chines.Once an old grocery store, this 1900s style bar/restaurant beckoned your curiosity to knock on the door and be met with a kitsch interior. This city reminded me so much of bygone Paris.I even saw an original art nouveau sign outside Picoas Metro station, on the linha amarela. 


Interior, Casa de Alentejo


Original art nouveau metro sign,Picoas









Parisian, Moroccan
and Chinese influences
in the heart of Lisbon

Pavilhao Chines










Choosing from a menu was not often easy.....
...nor so watching the world go by on Rossio.
















1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos. Cheered me up,I'm afraid that's the first thing that we do whenever on holiday-check out the local markets.
    You might like to know we're snowed in today so only expecting the most determined of customers.
    Hope its not a long hard winter....

    ReplyDelete