Although I’ve never actually been to Portugal, stepping inside Casa Lisboa instantly made me feel a million miles away from Lan Kwai Fong; the white stone walls, stained glass windows, and rich burgundy and dark wood could easily have belonged somewhere in the Mediterranean. It’s a beautiful space that feels airy and bright, almost as if the view from the windows should be of an inviting beach, as opposed to just another skyscraper!
Understanding Hongkongers’ desire to indulge at the weekends, Casa Lisboa has recently started offering a Saturday brunch menu. There is the choice of a three-course ($180) or four-course ($250) brunch, and the added option of free-flow Vino Verde or sparkling wine for an additional $100. Both options allow you to choose each course from an a la carte menu, where choices are a plenty. Not wanting to miss out on so many delicious sounding dishes, we chose the four-course menu and shared each dish.
After nibbling on some olives and complimentary hors d’oeuvres, we began with a plate of Portuguese sausage (for two). This is flambéed in front of your table in a cute little ceramic piggy, which built our excitement before actually tasting the delicious, slightly spicy chorizo.
Alongside this, the traditional fried codfish (“bacalhau”) cakes were also excellent. Similar to Spanish croquetas, these little fish cakes were wonderfully light and moreish, serving as the perfect contrast to the salty chorizo.
For the second course, you can choose between a soup and a salad. We decided to choose two different salads – the grilled octopus salad and the crispy suckling pigs feet salad. Although the crispy pig one was interesting and worked well with the chunks of sweet, juicy orange, it was the wonderfully tender grilled octopus that really shone for us. I also loved how, in both salads, the finely chopped salad leaves came undressed, so as not to steal the limelight from the accompanying protein.
Seeing as we felt as if we were in the Mediterranean, we couldn’t resist choosing a fish dish as one of the main courses. The traditional “espetada”, a skewer of fish wrapped in bacon, was absolutely delicious. The fish had a lovely meaty texture and delicate flavour that was enhanced by the salty, crispy bacon.
For our other main course, we chose the duck rice old-style, cooked in a terracotta dish. I loved the contrasting textures of the crispy top layer of rice, sticky lower layer and tender, melt-in-the-mouth morsels of duck. The garnishing slivers of chorizo completed this wholesome, comforting dish.
For dessert, the traditional egg pudding was surprisingly delicious. Completely unrelated to a Portuguese egg tart, this pudding (made with lemon and cinnamon-infused custard) was wonderfully fluffy and light.
The traditional chocolate mousse, although less light than the first dessert, was also excellent. It was a little thicker and creamier than other mousses, yet wasn’t too rich, and I loved the crumbled wafer topping that gave a welcome contrasting texture to the dish.
After only a couple of months since its inception, Casa Lisboa’s Saturday brunch is already proving mightily popular – there was not one empty table by the time we had finished our meal. The service is good and, considering the fact that normally one main course alone costs $250, the value for money is amazing. It’s certainly somewhere I would recommend for a tasty brunch that’s a little bit different to the all-you-can-eat buffets in Hong Kong that we are used to frequenting!
Casa Lisboa Portuguese Restaurant & Bar 8/F, Lan Kwai Fong Tower, 55 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Check out more from Ale on her fab blog, The Dim Sum Diaries!