Summer menu review (2018): Casa Lisboa, a Portuguese restaurant in Central, Hong Kong
Taste of Lusitania menu is amazing and on until end-August 2018
There’s something magical about tasting delicious new flavours or flavour combinations for the first time. An opportunity to savour and consider the new sensation. The possibility of discovering a new favourite taste. Each time I visit Casa Lisboa, I feel a bit of this magic. I always discover a new dish or two that I just can’t wait to recommend to friends. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned about their new Taste of Lusitania eight course menu ($580 per person including an excellent welcome cocktail) that features dishes inspired by various Portuguese colonies including Madeira Island, Angola, Goa, Mozambique, Macau, Brazil, and the Azores Islands. Especially since I loved last year’s summer menu on the tastes of Northern Portugal so much.
Having visited the restaurant for the third time now, part of its charm is how homey yet refined it feels. There’s a lot of white and azure blue touches, colourful Azulejo tiles, and a large open kitchen. But there is also starched starched white tablecloths and impeccable service. It feels just as suitable for a casual brunch as for a romantic date. Even though we indulged in eight courses, it wasn’t at all stuffy.
We started with two small bites. The Chicken Muamba (Angola) was made with minced meat which made it easy to scoop up with the cassava chips. It was homey and fragrant, and had a sticky texture from the pumpkin. The Milho Frito Madeira (Madeira Island) was a fried bite made of chicken stock, corn starch and kale and topped with an onion paste. I would have happily eaten bigger portions of both.
Starters to share
The Swordfish Tartare (Madeira Island) was slightly acidic and very fresh. It was a touch creamy due to an avocado puree.
I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by the Clams in Coconut Milk (Goa) but it’s a dish I’m still thinking about weeks later. The clams themselves were very fat, fresh and large, and the coconut sauce is sweet yet creamy. You can taste the fresh coconut and sweet onions. A wonderful dish.
Usually I find quail to be too bony, but the Piri Piri Quail (Mozambique) from the menu is very meaty and juicy. The marinade is just spicy enough to be pleasingly addictive and the Molho sauce (a peppery tomato, garlic, and olive oil sauce) on the side adds a rich tartness. We were encouraged to use our hands for this dish and were given finger bowls which was nice.
Mains to choose
My friend and I decided to get both mains and share them.
The “Bifana” 58 degree cooked Iberico pork chop bun (Macau) was my friend’s favourite given the tender meat. The sweet onion and basil relish added something different. A super comforting choice, and it’s nice to be able to order an elevated take on a casual snack.
While the pork chop bun was indeed very good, I absolutely loved the fish and seafood Moqueca (Brazil). The dish was packed with high quality, fresh seafood: more of the fresh clams, shrimp, octopus, and a large chunk of black cod. At the bottom was a square of pirao, a flour cake that’s kind of like wet mochi in texture. It absorbed all the flavours of the coconut seafood stew and still added its own sweetness. I really hope they add this (and the coconut clams) to the main menu.
We also decided to get both desserts and share them. First up was the Baby Bananas flambeed in Madeira wine (Azores Island). A nice light yet rich way to end the meal.
Of course a meal isn’t complete without ending with Casa Lisboa’s signature pineapple raviolis. These are a tad tricky to eat but get a whole ravioli with the thin sheet of pineapple, vanilla ice cream, pistachio sponge cake and peppercorn in your mouth at once if you can. You’ll be rewarded with a fresh, flowery, fragrant little flavour bomb.
I don’t go to Casa Lisboa nearly enough given how much I enjoy the food everytime I go. While the main menu is great, this Taste of Lusitania menu is very special and there are some wonderful dishes that should be tried by as many people as possible. Note that not all of the waitstaff knew about the menu; if this is the case, ask the manager and she’ll get it for you. Go and enjoy it until 31 August 2018.
2/F Parekh House, 63 Wyndham Street, Central, 2905 1168