Restaurant review: Casa Lisboa with new Chef Fabio Pompo in Central, Hong Kong
Last summer, Casa Lisboa had a wonderful “Tastes of Northern Portugal” summer menu. The decor was a bit dated with red velvet chairs and wrought iron accents, but I had a soft spot for it because there seemed to be such passion in the cooking and the prices were reasonable. Inspired by Portuguese summer barbeques in the forests, there was a lot of grilled meats and foods roasted over a flame. I could imagine myself enjoying such delicacies at a big party in a Portuguese forest.
So I was saddened to hear of its closing in the LKF tower, and not sure what to expect when it reopened months later on Wyndham Street. When I received an invite to check it out, I was excited to see for myself. After taking my seat, it was quickly apparent that Casa Lisboa 2.0 would be nothing like the original.
The new Casa Lisboa is modern with floor to ceiling windows that let in lots of natural light. White and sky blue are the dominant colours. And while the space is much smaller, it manages to not feel cramped. Most seats in the restaurant have a view of the open kitchen which gives the entire space a cozy, vibrant atmosphere.
Fabio Pombo, the new Executive Chef, has put together a lovely menu of modern, innovative twists on Portuguese foods.
Portuguese Octopus Confit ($280)
My absolute favourite dish of the night was the octopus confit in Moscatel wine. I’d never had octopus like this before. First they boil Moscatel in a skillet, and the steam from the wine cooks the octopus; the sweetness of the Moscatel becomes infused throughout the delicate meat. Afterwards, the octopus is grilled giving it a charred, sticky texture. Absolutely delicious.
Algrave Red Prawns ($280)
This is an upscale take on a classic Portuguese dish. Usually, it’s a simple affordable meal of shrimp in tomato sauce often eaten by fisherman. At Casa Lisboa, they use the high end red prawns, in this case from Algrave; they had exceptional flavour and were perfectly cooked. We asked for extra bread to soak up the spicy, winey, garlic-y, prawn broth based sauce.
A5 Grade Flame-grilled Chunk Rib “Preguinho” ($380)
Our group really enjoyed this dish which doesn’t take itself too seriously. The beef was presented beautifully, but we were to put our premium cuts of wagyu into fresh bread pockets and top the meat with a housemade mustard and sheep cheese sauce. This is a bit on the expensive side for sandwiches, but it is a good cut of beef.
Duck Rice Lisboa Style with Chorizo and Slow Roasted Pork Belly ($180)
I like my carbs strongly flavoured, and this dish met my expectations. It reminded me a lot of lo mai gai or bao zai fan. What makes this one different is the tender, flavourful duck meat. The meat is layered in the rice like the middle icing layer of the cake, and keeps the dish moist. Crispy rice and pork belly add texture and an extra dimension of flavour.
Pineapple, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Pistachio Sponge Ravioli ($75)
While I loved the food, this dessert didn’t win me over. It’s very beautiful, but it was difficult to eat. Because the raviolis were large, it was a bit of a challenging gracefully scooping it up and eating it in one bite. That said, the pineapple was nicely seasoned and complemented the Port-infused pistachio cake. I think this would be better if the raviolis were smaller and held together with a toothpick or something to make it easier to eat.
Casa Lisboa has been made over well. The food is delicious, and it should draw in a loyal clientele as one of the few Portuguese restaurants in town. The cozy space makes it suitable for a date or small groups. For larger groups, there is a semi private corner booth.
8th Floor, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, 2905 1168
Thanks to Casa Lisboa's PR for inviting me to review.