Lisboeta, London W1: ‘The custard tasted like bacony trifle’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent on restaurants

Nuno Mendes has created a slice of deeply personal Portugal with this wild and educational new rideThe server’s end-of-dinner offer at Lisboeta had all the hallmarks of the chef. “Nuno would love you to try the pork-fat custard with a port caramel,” he said, in a manner that suggested chef-patron Nuno Mendes, the kind-eyed disrupter of Portuguese food in Britain, had left me no real option.I did not want the pork-fat custard. I wasn’t entirely sure, earlier in the meal, that I wanted the razor clam and blood sausage on toast – it tasted like musky armpit – but in both cases I found myself nodding in acceptance, because Mendes’ restaurants are always a wild and educational ride. He has become famous and loved in the British food scene over the past decade for a shaggy, avuncular charm that masks a fervent mischief in his cooking, plus a noble urge to chivvy Britain past the piri piri and pastel de nata approach to Portugal. If Mendes did crack one day and simply dish up spicy chicken, croquettes and octopus, he would probably be richer than God, yet instead he persists with the likes of cured, room-temperature slivers of amberjack topped with orange and onion, or wild mushrooms in egg-yolk bread sauce alongside plates of pungent sheep’s cheese from Serra da Arrábida. Continue reading...

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