O Cantinho de Portugal

Address: 137 Stockwell Road SW9 9TN

telephone: 020 7924 0218
The largest Portuguese community in London is near Brixton so it is obvious that some of the best Portuguese and Madeiran food  would be right here – it is  – but not in the new pop-ups in Brixton Village. The best Portuguese food is found in a well established restaurant on Stockwell Road. It is also genuine – the main language is Portuguese, the TV is switched to Portuguese game shows and news channels (we assume there was no football that evening) and the tables in the restaurant are covered in clean white cloth with the ubiquitous wooden chairs with turned tops.

 You enter the restaurant through the bar which has finger food and salads. The ambience is friendly as well as formal enough to make it a special occasion. Our only complaint is that the mobile phone connections are not good enough to quickly search for the Portuguese words on the TV News. But we did in the end learn about the movement of parish boundaries currently being discussed in parliament!

The food is divided into the usual starters, mains and desserts with a long list of meat dishes (mainly pork), half a page of bacalau dishes and then other fish. We chose “porco Alentejana” – pork cubes, fried potatoes and clams with a sprinkling of chilli and pepper which was unusual, enormous and delicious – and “bacalau con natas” which is dried salted cod, potatoes and onions in a cream sauce which was also enormous and delicate with none of the over saltiness that usually comes with such dishes. We liked it although we could understan
We washed it all down with water and half a bottle of red wine – Casa de Santar which was very dry but grew on us. We finished off (despite our tight waists and in the spirit of curiosity) with two of their desserts that are on display just beneath one of the two TVs. We had “molotov” a caramel souffle  with a caramel sauce – again huge -which was an Italian meringue which had been lightly cooked. It was probably a mistake and certainly is not something I would choose again unless I hankered after burnt sugar. We also ordered “leite creme” which was a pleasant creme brulee.d if people complained about the undifferentiated flavour. Did we mention they were enormous portions? Even after we had stopped eating we easily had enough for another meal or two or three.

As we sat down we were presented with basket of bread and butter and a bowl of olives. We were charged for the bread (very Portuguese) but not the olives which was a good thing as we certainly would have complained. The olives were not at all interesting and, as we have said several times in this blog, there is a very good delicatessen in Brixton under the arches which sells very good and well flavoured olives.

Per person price is about “20 per person including the most expensive wine on the menu – so clearly a bargain.

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