Casa do Frango — London, UK
Thanks to champions like Nuno Mendes and, more recently, openings such as Bar Duoro and Londrino, London’s Portuguese food scene is having a moment.
The latest restaurant to join the fray, is Casa do Frango, a joint venture from Marco Mendes, Jake Kasumov and Reza Merchant, whose shared love of the south of Portugal formed the basis for the cuisine.
Setting up shop on the upper floor of a Victorian building, adjacent to the Southwark railway arches, the dining room has been designed by London-based A-nrd Studio. The space’s stand-out original features like the vaulted ceiling, large arched windows and the naked brickwork provided a good starting point for a look that takes its cues from Portugal’s heritage. This includes gently whirring suspended ceiling fans, and details like the hand-painted motif on the bar and the slatted wooden vintage chairs inspired by Lisbon’s famous trams from the 1900s. Meanwhile, a skylight overhead floods the room with light and lots of potted greenery brings the outside in.
The menu kicks off with an offering of shared classic like the grilled chorizo, or salt cod and chickpea salad, before pitmaster Lucidio da Fonesca Monteiro sends out the star of the show: tender Algarvian-style piri piri chicken cooked over wood charcoal.
Accompany this with a fresh tomato and onion salad, wash it down with a glass or two of Portuguese wine and finish off with a traditional pastel de nata (a custard tart) and your experience will no doubt trump that of a certain well-known chicken chain any day.§