Earlier this year I made a trip to Portugal and discovered how incredibly fresh and delicious the food was. It made me wonder why this cuisine hadn’t taken off in the UK. And no, Nandos does not count.
Thankfully, we’ve got Becky and Sally Morris to bring back some Portuguese flavours to us fellow Bristolians! Two sisters with a passion for Portuguese cuisine, their adventure started on holiday with friends and family. In search for a way to share their culinary experiences and fond memories of Portugal, the girls decided to set up their own supper club and promote a culinary hidden gem.
When I heard of their second supper club in Bristol, I knew I had to be there! Filled with Portuguese blues, I entered the venue thrilled to be a part of this event. Greeted by friends of the chefs, the atmosphere was warm, bubbly, and welcoming. We sat down at one of the three long tables set up at the centre of the room.
We sat down at one of the three long tables set up at the centre of the room. I’ve always loved the idea of communal dining! It encourages dialogue between strangers which means… hello new friends! Plus it’s a totally typical setup for an authentic supper club.
We started off with a series of small plates of Portuguese delights. It included homemade Portuguese bread (traditionally thick, crusty and chewy), olives, salted butter, cheese, chorizo, ready-made sardine pate and the surprising star of the show: marinated carrots. Covered in garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and vinegar, every mouthful was an utter delight. An incredibly simple dish that had a lasting impact on my taste buds. If you’re a little intrigued, find the recipe here.
A traditional fisherman style soup including meaty fish, tomatoes and fresh herbs quickly followed. It was warming and flavoursome.
There was a long wait between the fish soup and fish course but it did allow time for the starter(s) to digest. Something I value when indulging myself in a four-course meal!
When the fish course did arrive you knew by the presentation it was worth the wait. Called ‘Prawns O’ Tiago’, the dish was inspired by one of their favourite restaurants in the west of the Algarve. Made up of whole prawns flambéed in butter, garlic, brandy, Piri-piri and lots of cream, this was a total showstopper. It was truly opulent and the prawns themselves were meaty and delicious.
Worryingly, I was beginning to feel a little full. Throughout the evening there was a plethora of bread pouring out of the kitchen. It was hard not to help yourself. Cleaning the last of the creamy prawn sauce, covering the bread in salted butter and dipping it in fish soup was absolutely compulsory. It cost me valuable space but I decided to battle my regret in the morning after and soldier on.
For the mains, we were presented with the most famous export of Portugal, ‘Piri Piri Chicken’. This was served with salad and slow cooked potatoes, onions and tomatoes in wine and bay. A dish that showed off the Piri Piri spices and highlighted the essence of Portuguese cooking.
Finally, the dessert consisted of Portugal’s classic custard tart and a port poached plum. I have to admit, it was a little disappointing. The tart was in a form of a slice, pastry was unusually thin and custard itself was very firm. Quite far from your classic Portuguese custard tart. However, the poached plum did give it a lift. It was sticky, rich, filled with spices and almost made up for it.
Coffee and tea was served and accompanied with a delightful treat of almond and nuts. A lovely touch to the end of the evening.