Thursday, 10 February 2011

O invasao Iberico de Londres

One of the Tapas temptations at number 22
The Iberian peninsular is alive and kicking in the heart of Englands metropolis.The streets are aromatised with the smell of finger grillin´ good chicken. As of February 2011 the Portuguese / Mozambican themed peri-peri chicken chain, Nandos now has 233 restaurants located across the UK, with over 65 of those in London. David Beckham has eaten there, so has Tinchy Stryder. I dont condone Nando´s bad practices but confess to, in the past having bought Nando off the shelf products in the supermarket.This is now the restaurant of choice for a new breed of confident young multicultural Britons.
On Monday afternoon our cabbie from the station engaged us in true East End style banter about another Portuguese food invasion of London - Stockwell's South Lambeth Road,has now been dubbed 'Little Portugal', due to the numerous cafes, bars and other businesses owned by Portuguese members of the community. There are 27,000 Portuguese people living in Lambeth. It´s a Lambeth you´ve never seen. 

Any time you´re Lambeth way, any evening any day, you´ll find them all
doing the Lambeth walk along the South Lambeth Road between Vauxhall and Stockwell.  
Nothing´s free but easy, Do as you darn well pleasey, Why don't you make your way there, Go there, stay there.... The atmosphere is almost as much Lisbon as London. It’s no wonder the area, a thriving barrio with many bars, cafés, restaurants and delicatessens, has been labelled ‘Little Portugal’. The Iberian theme continued into the evening. By coincidence our dear friend and host David who we were staying with overnight in Dulwich, suggested we dine at a new arrival in Herne Hill, Number 22, a Spanish tapas bar.En route to the restaurant we happened to pass Ocean fish, a traditional fishmongers but wait for this, it was owned and run hands on by a native Portuguese from Madeira.We arrived at the restaurant and settled on a glass  of Pedro Ximenez, while we perused the menu.I immediately felt an air of authenticity about this place. For appetisers we selected croquetas with goats cheese spinach and pine nuts and Spanish charcuterie including Chouriço. lomo, salchichon and jamòn serrano. For our main course we chose to share Chouriço a la sidra with patatas con mojos, a delicious chouriço sausage flamed with cider. Pork fillet with balsamic and honey glazed baby onions, and to complete the troika pan fried king prawns, chouriço and squid. David selected a superb Txomin Etxaniz,a vibrantly tart white that gets the appetite in gear for some truly great food that is on offer from its homeland, Spanish Basque country.Okay, okay, the name of this wine doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but it does wonderful things to said mouth furniture.We finished with a cheese platter of manchego and quince jelly,a little too perfumed for me personally but something my companions tucked into. Picos de Europa with dried figs and a dark chocolate mousse with an orange coulis.
Our meal was magnificent, what a splendid finish to our UK visit,bringing a bright and light Iberican delight to a bitterly cold south London winter night.For those of you lucky enough to visit this truly Iberican oasis in South London, they also offer a range of Paellas on Sundays. Our delightful and knowledgeable waitress informed us it is essential to book.
Casa Rosada is now back home in the Algarve listening to our London purchase of Boy Georges latest offering featuring a guest performance by modern fadista Ana Lains, who was born in Tomar, Portugal and won the Grande Noite do Fado of Lisbon in 1999.What better accompaniment to a tapas evening. Enjoy.

A small selection of what´s on offer and what the critics have said about Little Portugal, London

Grelha D´ouro, 
151-153 South Lambeth Road London SW8
A home from home to the local Portuguese, Grelha D'Ouro has become even more welcoming since a recent refurbishment. It's just like a living room, with the furniture facing a television that provides a steady stream of footie and homeland soaps. Daytime sees men sinking bowls of steamed clams and Sagres beer, while young families snack on tosta mista (toasted ham and cheese sandwiches) and petiscos. We chose stewed chicken gizzards, substantial pastéis de bacalhau (salt-cod fish cakes) and plump olives. The gizzards, cooked in a rich tomato sauce, were incredibly moreish, despite their thoroughly unattractive appearance; the pastéis de bacalhau were so nicely balanced we bought an extra four to bolster office packed lunches. Coffee and the sugary pastéis de nata (custard tarts) were also of a delectably high standard. Evenings and weekends see customers take over the basement games room and back room dining area. Stop by on a Sunday afternoon to see parties of four generations of Portuguese families sharing pots of soupy seafood rice and slow-cooked feijoada.
TIME  OUT
Bar Estrela
111-115, South Lambeth Road, London SW8
Cold Super Bocks, custard tarts and portions of stew and sundry pork dishes served in half- or full measures add to the Iberian atmosphere.You can stand at the bar, but it's more of a sit-down-and-be-served kind of place, with the uniformed waiters gradually getting used to a pace of life a few notches faster than Portugal's.Considered by many to be the best drinking option in Little Portugal, the Star Bar is certainly the finest spot at which to watch European football, beamed in on Portuguese TV.                                                                                 TIME  OUT


Cafe Portugal
5A-6A Victoria House, South Lambeth Road, London SW8
Reservations are advisable at this charming, family run restaurant, which is situated in increasingly fashionable Lambeth,offering mainly Portuguese dishes, but Spanish ones get a look in too, with different paellas, from meat to fish.various spices are employed here with well-reheased skill, and the house wine is excellent value. The atmosphere is cafe style and airy with the emphasis on casual. CUISINE: Portuguese

Ilha Dourada ( Spanish)63 Stockwell Road, London SW8
Very good food good atmosfere lovely barbecue and a very variety of portuguese products go and hask for a beer and a nice chiken piri-piri and you will go there more offen (sic).

Rebatos ( Spanish)
169 South Lambeth Road London SW8 
The most authentic Spanish tapas bar in town, with a restaurant that is always full. The long oak bar is populated by Spanish waiters at lunchtime. They must work nights. In the evening there is a splendid mix of locals, visitors from as far away as Chelsea or Fitzrovia plus many Spanish revellers. As it would in Spain, the menu changes daily; some favourites include the kidneys in sherry, calamares, chirizo, and squid. Drink the fresh Manzanilla and Finos or the beers from Spain. The wine list is superbly Spanish. £35—£45 for two—wine £10.
WINE AND DINE

A little bit of Portugal on Golborne Road
Portuguese cafe culture has an extablished - and very welcome - place in the life of Golborne. In Portugal itself, cafes are the hub of social life, rather like the traditional British pub. They're the place you go to meet friends, discuss weighty issues and hear the local gossip. And that is very much the atmosphere you'll find at the Lisboa and Oporto, respectively named after the first and second cities of Portugal.

Sitting almost opposite each other on Golborne Road, these two cafes provide the centrepiece of this scene. Both of them have thriving outdoor areas and an authentically Portuguese feel, complete with the ceramic tiles that are such a feature of Portuguese interiors. If you've ever been to Portugal you'll know that the delicious coffee, the irresistible cakes and the tasty snacks are entirely as you'd find them in Lisbon or Porto.

At the Lisboa try one of their custard tarts - surely the best in London. Other cakes are also scrumptious, but it's the custard tarts (pastéis de nata) that lure the sweet-toothed from far and wide. At Oporto, my personal favourite is the toasted croissant with cheese and ham, perhaps a slightly unusual snack but let me assure you, one that is absolutely delicious.


Lisboa Delicatessen
54 Golborne Road

Lisboa Cafe 57 Golborne Road
Experiencing this place is like having a "slice" of Lisbon itself. Once you are inside you actually forget you are in London, it seems as if you are in the Lisbon city. If you have ever been in a Cafe in Lisbon Portugal you know exactly what I mean. Thoroughly recommended it, have fun and Enjoy. 



Cafe Oporto
62 Golborne Road




1 comment:

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