8 April 2015
I knew I was gonna pay a heavy price for that awesome dinner last night at Belcanto; specifically the copious amounts of wine and aguardente I consumed… But it was worth it, a fabulous night. This made my final full day in Lisbon one of semi-recovery and moving slowly. I changed my plans somewhat and just enjoyed the local area a bit, strolling in places nearby I have not explored earlier — plus a simple seafood lunch.
But for my final dinner I planned ahead for somewhere that not many tourists go, but is beloved by its local fans — Cervejaria da Esquina. It’s in the suburb of Campo de Ourique, which is not well-served by public transportation. On this drizzly night I had trouble finding the correct bus stop for the 1 minibus (#774) that went to the area, so I ended up walking the 20+ minutes from the Metro uphill.
I was knackered when I got there, but was welcomed into an extremely cool and modern eatery that wouldn’t look out of place in Williamsburg or Chiswick — nor would the bearded staff. I sat down and relaxed and they poured me some wine… Staff was happy to humour me when I spoke my limited Portuguese but they soon happily switched to fluent English to guide me through the menu.
I decided to go with small plates. Everything looked so good and I wanted to experience as much as I could this final night in this lovely city, so why not. I placed my order and they smiled, so I figured it was good. Soon the first of my dishes arrived, and it’s one of my favourite things to eat in the world…
Look at these razor clams. Juicy and plump, this was an excellent helping of these slender wonders! The flavour was perfect, letting nature play the key role. Oh goodness I am in heaven!
I recovered after all those razors and my servers smiled appreciatively, hearing all my mini-moans. They then presented the next course.
Oh my goodness I could smell this dish from the kitchen and all its garlic goodness. Excellent prawns, flavourful and no sogginess; and the spicy, garlicky sauce was just awesome. I wish I had more room in my stomach to soak all of this up with bread! After finishing the last prawn, which was splendid, I changed my own answer — and indeed soaked up the last of the sauce with bread! Just garlicky good!
I was filling up but I was loving this evening — even more than last night. There was good chat with the servers and even a fellow diner — who was surprised when I answered a question he had been pondering with the server all in Portuguese. Good fun! More wine when the last dish arrived…
Oh my these were looking awesome! Fried cuttlefish! Proper cuttlefish, not squid-cum-cuttlefish. Not frozen stuff. Not thin stips. These were logs of solid cuttlefish, breaded perfectly — thin but flavourful. Not drippy or soggy, done just right. Full of flavour, and did not distort the natural solid texture of the cuttlefish. Oh, I am really in heaven…
I was nearly dead when I finished the last of the cuttlefish. I ordered another glass of wine, and they just emptied the bottle into my glass (I was the only one drinking this one anyway). Relaxed and when they asked me about dessert, a lightbulb went off on top of my head, and Mel was gonna do the Mel thing with dessert.
I ordered another dish. And I think you can guess what it is.
Oh, more beautiful razors. I had a bit of time to rest and digest all that food before this “dessert” came out. They loved it. I loved it. As good as the first bunch, I just savoured every bite of it. The rain was coming down out there and I knew I had a long walk in the downpour as I didn’t want to wait for a night bus at this point, so I fuelled up. I was nearly teary when the last one was consumed — not just for being so full, but also it was the last one…
When I got up to leave, the entire staff was bade me farewell, as they also enjoyed my enjoyment of their fine work. Friendly, quick and skilled staff, wonderful and fresh seafood, good wine, and the bill was far lower than you’d expect. How not to love this?
I walked out in the rain with a huge smile on my face. I took it slowly down the hill as it was raining hard, and the stones on the pavement extremely slippery. I was still smiling when I got back to my hotel after getting to the Metro after a 20-minute slow walk. I think I was still smiling when I woke up the next morning.
Lisbon has completely won not just my stomach and liver, but also my heart and brain. My feet have some issues with this town, but frankly the others trump. I will certainly be back. I have fallen in love with Lisboa.
Next stop, Madrid…
Cervejaria da Esquina
Rua Correia Teles 56