We originally had a reservation at Pap‘ Acordabut after 15 minutes of zero attention from staff coupled with an unexciting menu and a boring setting, we decided to go try Jose Avillez new pizza place (http://www.pizzarialisboa.pt/en/ ). On the way, we happened to walk by Cantinho do Avillez, the restaurant I wanted to go but had called early and they had no availability. Luckily, when we popped in seeing some empty tables from outside, they took pity on us, and gave us a table.
I am so happy we walked out of the first place. Cantinho do Avillez is exactly our type of restaurant, cool, fun, good crowd and amazingly yummy food.
We thought we were not hungry at all but once we read the tempting menu, we had suddenly became ravenous.
The drinks were fun, creative, boozy and delicious.
There were two friendly British girls on the table next to us who thankfully suggested some dishes to try (the cheese one among them). Vic lives in Lisbon and had great advice about the city and even where to eat the next night in Cascais (www.mardoinferno.com). We ended up having drinks with them after dinner, so fun.
What we ate:
Baked “Nisa” cheese with cured ham and rosemary honey (picture featured above): this was “wipe the plate clean” amazing. Hard to mess up on melted cheese but the bites of crispy ham, with the sweet rosemary honey drizzled on top added some complexity and wit. They were right, a must must! Nisa cheese is a semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese from the municipality of Nisa.
Alentejo black pork, fries, coriander and garlic farofa and black beans: this dish to me was the best of the entire trip. The black pork (native to the Iberian Peninsula) was tender and falling apart while keeping the salty porky juices in every forkful. The sides of delicious farofa (tastes better than it sounds toasted manioc flour mixture), perfectly crispy fries and rich black beans transported me home to a saturday lunch in Brazil eating feijoada (Brazilian dish only consumed Wednesdays and Saturdays for some mysterious reason www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoada).
Pan fried scallops with tomato, green asparagus and sweet potato: another delicious dish but overshadowed by the dreamy pork. Scallops were tender and flavorful but the scallops the previous night at 100 maneiras bistro were even better. Still an absolutely delicious dish.
Chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream: I am not usually a huge strawberry ice cream fan and tend to go for flavors like peanut butter, salted caramel, coffee, vanilla or some nut related ones, you get the picture. But the waiter said the strawberry was perfect with the pink peppercorns in the cake, sold!!!! He was right – the cake was amazing and the chocolate rich and with a great texture. And all was made even more exciting by the pink peppercorns. Much better than the chocolate dessert the prior night…
Cherry cheesecake with basil: very unique presentation, in a jar and also very airy, more like cheesecake whip on top of yummy crust at the bottom of the jar.
In sum: great fun meal. Definitely convinced me to return to Lisbon to try Jose Avillez’s other restaurants. If we had this restaurant in London, I would stop complaining I can’t find dishes I crave and places I want to go back to again and again. Chef Jose, can you please open an Avillez outpost around the corner from my house????
Cantinho do Avillez www.cantinhodoavillez.pt
Rua dos Duques de Bragança, 7, Mártires, Lisbon 1200-162
+351 211 992 369