The restaurant’s seating area is split between indoors — in what I presume was the old lounge-cum-dining room — and an outdoor area on an enormous covered veranda that catches the cool breeze and overlooks the garden. I could almost imagine that I was in Beira or Maputo and the Indian Ocean was just behind the boundary wall. The décor and the seating is very simple and informal, but perfectly adequate and spick and span.
In typical Portuguese style, we were served fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and little bowls of garlic and very hot chilli to garnish the bread. Our drinks arrived promptly and suitably chilled — a variety of soft drinks and beer and wine are available. I think I caught a glimpse of a small bar area off to one side, so presumably thirsty managers and directors from surrounding businesses can pop in for a quick one!
There didn’t seem to be a set menu but the waiter reeled off the offerings for the day. For a less formal restaurant, this is often a very good idea as only good, fresh ingredients are presented. On offer that particular day were, of course, peri-peri chicken, or lemon and herb chicken, rump or T-bone steak, prawns, tilapia or salmon. All of the above are available with rice or chips. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything suitable for vegetarians, but they would probably have come up with something if asked! The waiter didn’t mention any starters and I didn’t see anything resembling a starter being taken to any of the other tables. Perhaps if they decide to expand the menu they could add chicken giblets, the traditional caldo verde green soup or a small salad.
Our party of three ordered the mild peri-peri chicken, a T-bone and a portion of prawns. The portions were huge, quite enough to satisfy even the hungriest factory worker, so perhaps it’s just as well that we didn’t have starters. The prawns were delicious, very fresh and well-grilled and served with savoury rice and a small salad garnish. The chicken was good, not too hot (peri-peri wise) and still moist and juicy inside with a slightly smoky, crispy skin — just the way I like it. The steak was enormous, cooked medium rare as ordered and accompanied by a creamy, mushroomy sauce, some vegetables and excellent crispy, crunchy chips. All the food was very plainly prepared and presented but extremely well-cooked and very tasty.
I was pleased to see the chef walking around the restaurant serving some of the orders and chatting to a few of the diners. Not surprisingly, being an industrial area, most of the diners were men — men of every age, size and ethnic origin, from a group of older guys who looked like they’d just walked out of a mafia movie to a table of trendy young Indian and Asian dudes who could’ve graced the pages of a fashion magazine!
We rounded off the meal with chocolate mousse and some excellent real coffee (definitely not nasty instant stuff).
Altogether, it was a very satisfying meal — simple, well-prepared generous portions and friendly, efficient service. They’ve only been open for a short time but seem to have hit on a winning formula — it’s a relaxed, easy-going kind of place, definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Q4 Upton Road, Ardbennie
Expect to Spend US$15 – US$20 per head