Olá Lisboa! Casa de Pasto

August 06, 2014
Back to the very protracted affair that is my Lisbon blog posts. While I did spend some of my Lisbon city break doing things of a touristy nature, most of the trip was devoted to the pursuit of gastronomical delights. What else could we do, really, the languid heat of summer makes one want to only eat, sleep, and go to the beach. And go to the beach we did, but that's a blog post for another day.  In the meanwhile Henry and I sought out Lisbon's best restaurants, from the fashionable Bica do Sapato to family-run seafood and beer taverns to two-hundred year old pastry shops. One of my favourite discoveries, and also the most creative and most visually stimulating is Casa de Pasto.  

Hidden away on the first floor of an unassuming apartment block in Rua de São Paolo, Casa de Pasto is one of those restaurants off the beaten tourist track that you have to be 'in the know' to find. And those in the know are rewarded with an experience as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the tastebuds. Casa de Pasto is decorated in the style of Lisbon of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Every corner, nook, and cranny is stuffed with objets d'art both unexpected and typical of the Portugese decor style. Painted plates, azulejo, and figurines of Mother Mary jostle for space on the walls against a backdrop of shocking yellow wallpaper, its chaotic psychedelia-inducing pattern extending its motif to the ceiling. Rubber chickens hang from the ceiling like clusters of garlic would. The smoking area is a dark narrow room bathed in a solitary beam of light from the open skylight, dappled by the shapes of dangling statues of flying pigs. The pig is a recurrent motif at Casa de Pasto and makes his appearance on the cushion seats. Even a trip to the bathroom is a surreal experience with ornately framed lightboxes of scenery and huge plants growing out of a bidet beside the toilet. 

Truly, a trip to Casa de Pasto is worth it for the sight alone, it's like being in a museum of curiosities with so much detail that no amount of photos will do it justice. Yet somehow it all remains tasteful, peaceful, and doesn't at all detract from the food which, happily, is excellent and stands it own. The kitchen is run by Diogo Noronha, one of the most creative young chefs in town, whose culinary style is a revisit to earlier decades. with offerings of traditional dishes using contemporary techniques. Tapas, grilled fish and seafood, duck tarts, and the desserts...oh, the desserts! Well, I suppose I've said as much as I can, the only way to see for yourself is to go to Lisbon and pay Casa de Pasto a visit. But for now my food porn photos will have to suffice---

I can't recommend these duck tarts enough. We also had a cockle tart and another fishy one whose name I've forgot. 

Grilled octopus with kale, and mussels in white wine sauce. Thoroughly Portuguese fare.

The chocolate cake was delicious but not a patch on the star dessert...

...the nut cake. Our waitress, who was the epitome of what wait staff should be (knowledgable, helpful, gracious), recommended the nut cake as a 'traditional, typical Portuguese dessert that isn't the obvious choice for non-Portuguese people but the sort of thing you just have to try' which was just what we were going for. And it didn't disappoint, it was rich, nutty, and tasted like it was blessed by the sunny kisses of the Gods of Ferrero Rocher (am I revealing myself to be plebeian here?). 

Oh, and the aforementioned trippy toilets. The waterfalls in the light boxes were animated. There was an even bigger lightbox in the other toilet, with the illuminated motif of a carrot.

Casa de Pasto can be quite hard to find if you are not accustomed to the streets of Lisbon. I took a screenshot of the website and showed the address to my taxi driver, and upon leaving took advantage of the wifi and ordered an Uber to our next destination. But not before Instagram-ing, tweeting, and just social media-ing every corner of Casa de Pasto, which I won't judge you for doing, but bear in mind it's impossible to explain all of its wonder and do it justice. Just past the word along, and tell everyone you know to pay Casa de Pasto a visit.

No comments:

Post a comment