Observations on Portugal

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pasteis de Belem

  • Itinerant Londoner was right - the food in Portugal is disappointing. Try as I might, I did not find mijas on the menu, and instead was left with oily, greasy and largely flavourless food. Once or twice, I did think "yes, it's stodge, but glorious stodge" a la Nigella, but that was rare.
  • It struck me that while the high-end restaurants may have brilliant food, more commonplace, everyday cafés and such churned out basic, unadorned food. A bit like the food at an Irish wedding - plain and simple, nothing that'd scare that aunties and uncles.
  • Cakes, buns and tarts, however were divine, especially the pasteis de nata and pasteis de Belem (above).
  • There are a lot of pharmacies in Portugal. Lisbon seemed to have one at every turn.
  • My favourite of Lisbon's gay bars were Setimo Ceu in Barrio Alto - ace music, friendly staff and a cool magazine-collage wall - and Max in Principe Real, unadorned, unpretentious and friendly.
  • My favourite Metro stop (in Porto) was Estadio do Dragao - simply for the phlegmatic tongue-twisting way it is pronounced. In Lisbon, I quite liked Marques do Pombal as it sounded like Marques do bumhole. (Mature, I know)
  • My very favourite things were: azulejos and seeing Cabo da Roca - more of this later.


Anonymous said...

Setimo Ceu is great, isn't it? Despite the food, Lisbon is one of my favourite places in Europe, the azujelos and the pasteis de Belem are indeed fab.

On another note - I notice you have no drawing of the UK in your hand drawn Europe yet! How can I rectify this?

Adrian said...

Yes, you are right. I've been choosy, waiting for the right man (story of my life). You are he!

We shall rectify at some point (maybe when you visit my work)