Becca and I rather enjoy our reunions over a spot of food and wine, well that tends to be most of my catch ups with friends. This time on a grey, wet August day we braved the outside and headed down to Spitalfields Market to try out the new Portuguese restaurant, Taberna Do Mercado.
It had recently been frequented by Nigella Lawson and friends, so it must be good surely! It’s the creation of Nuno Mendes, the chef behind Chiltern Firehouse, but you will find it is the complete opposite of the lavish Chiltern Firehouse. The room is simple and hidden away on the edge of the market, with a few outdoor tables and more inside. If you go downstairs to the toilet you will find the chef’s pass completely open in all its glory ready for you to eyeball the food being prepped.
The menu is along the lines of Portuguese tapas, with daily specials to accompany the quite consistent menu. The dishes are all very reasonably priced along with the Portuguese wine which is beautiful. The waiter suggested about 3-4 dishes per person so we got stuck in.
Flavoursome chourico de vinho tinto which was beautiful and simple. We couldn’t then resist the runner bean fritters and bulhao path, crispy beans with a thin, salty sauce at the bottom.
One of the specialities are the tinned fish so we went for the cod option. Was actually very nice, again quite salty with the sauce but was a nice mop up for any leftover bread.
The main disappointment for the meal was the peas, egg yolk and broa de milho which was a cold small plate that had an overpowering taste of raw onion. Bit strange and neither of us really liked that one.
Now onto a stand out dish which was the cuttlefish risotto that was a special for the day, could have eaten that all day long.
Another winner for us both was the beef prego, prawn paste and sorrel sandwich which was gorgeous. Perfectly cooked beef within a juicy packed sandwich. If I still worked in the area this would definitely be a weekly treat at lunchtime.
We just about had enough room for pudding, which I’ll admit I ate the majority of. It was a first for me and was called Fig Toucinho de Ceu. It had a marzipan taste and a soft texture to the cake, covered in figs. Was gorgeous and one I may try to recreate at home one day.
All in all it’s a great restaurant, simple yet lovely food and continues the love of sharing lots of small dishes between your party. Head on down and perhaps find yourself sat next to Nigella.