Casa Lisboa recently rolled out its new summer menu, which it calls “Taste of Lusitania” — seven courses inspired by traditional dishes from former colonies of the Portuguese Empire, including Angola, Goa and Mozambique. (Fun fact: Lusitania was the name of an ancient Iberian Roman province that included most of modern Portugal and part of modern Spain).
The restaurant re-opened last July in a second-floor location on Wyndham Street. The new interiors manage to capture the look of the Portuguese seaside — not easy right next to busy LKF — with its navy blue and white decor, brick walls, and murals inspired by the country’s coastlines.
The meal, priced at HK$580, includes one cocktail: the Poncha da Madeira 2.0, a pleasantly sweet and refreshing drink made with aguardente de cana, fruit juice, and passion fruit.
Two novel “snacks” kick off a strong line-up of dishes. The chicken muamba is a spread made out of chicken and sweet pumpkin, served with cassava chips and Milho Frito Madeira, crispy chunks of cornmeal (made with chicken broth thickened with corn flour) and kale that are then fried.
We could’ve eaten a mega-sized bucket of those Milho Frito alone — they were that good. Did we mention they were crispy and fried?
The next dish, a swordfish tartare starter, was stellar (and possibly the best of the night): Substantially sized chunks of fresh, raw swordfish mixed with diced red onions, bell pepper, lime juice and avocado puree, served with corn tortilla chips.
The result was a really bright-tasting dish, reminiscent of ceviche without being too acidic.
The two other starters — clams in a light, coconut milk-based sauce, followed by piri-piri quail — were solid winners, too. The coconut milk sauce was so fragrant we could smell it before the plate hit the table. It was perfect for sopping up with bread after the clams disappeared.
The quail arrived on top of a still-smoldering bed of rosemary, meant to impart a “smoky and aromatic” flavor. We had our doubts, but it worked — the herbal depths were indeed great. Could similar results have been achieved with less showmanship? Probably. Was it cool? Definitely.
And, mmmmm mmmmmmm, crispy quail skin.
Next, diners get a choice of one of two mains: the fish and seafood “moqueca,” a take on Brazilian seafood stew, or the “Bifana Iberico chop bun,” based on Macau’s iconic pork chop buns.
The cod in the stew was firm and flaky, cooked in a wonderfully savory red pepper and garlic sauce. More seafood would’ve been nice, and we could’ve done without the chunks of pirão, an Angolan specialty made out of cassava flour and water, which reminded us of an extra chewy cross between polenta and tteok-bokki (Korean rice cakes).
We’d go with the pork chop bun. Casa Lisboa’s upgrade comes with several well-seasoned, tender bone-in pieces that were slow-cooked via sous vide.
For dessert, diners choose between “pineapple ravioli” and flambéed baby bananas paired with ice cream.
Pineapple ravioli sound like an unholy combo to you? Relax. It’s just ultra-thin slices of pineapple that blanket small bites of ice cream and sponge cake — nothing to do with the conventional pockets of pasta. Either choice is a perfectly good way to end the meal.
If you’re looking for a special meal or want to branch out from the usual options for European cuisine, Casa Lisboa’s “Taste of Lusitania” menu may just the thing.
At HK$580 (US$74) per person plus a 10 percent service fee, the menu certainly isn’t cheap, but it is a solid choice if you feel like splurging and trying something different.
It’ll be available for dinner Monday through Thursday, until August 9.
Casa Lisboa is at 2nd Floor, Parekh House, 63 Wyndham Street, Central
+852 2905 1168
MTR: Central, approx. 7 minute walk