Madeira – Casa Portuguesa

Since most of the restaurants we had sampled in Funchal’s Old Town had so far been so reasonable, we thought it was time to try one of the posh ones.

Casa Portuguesa

Casa Portuguesa, on the steep Travessa das Torres, has a reputation for high quality traditional Portuguese cuisine. Inside the whitewashed walls are punctuated with traditional blue tile panels, while shelves and other surfaces are adorned with the predictable rustic items bought as an auction job lot. On the crisp white table linen silver rests are provided for the cutlery and the staff are OCD attentive to your needs.

Me with soup at Casa Portuguesa

On opening the menu though, my hackles rose when I spied the €2.50 cover charge. Personally I think that’s a bit stiff for supplying bread rolls that people don’t always eat, it’s the culinary equivalent of Ryanair’s credit card surcharge. However to start there was choice of soups. I went for the tomato and onion which was quite good, but not anywhere in the same league as the one from the Donna Maria Restaurant  and horror! no poached egg.

Fish Soup

Mab and Nick had the fish soup, which was made with the ubiquitous Black Scabbard Fish. From the spoonful I tried it was certainly very tasty.

On to the mains, and I plumped for the chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce.

Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Like all the dishes, this was very nicely presented,and came with potatoes, sweet potato and the local Madeira Marrow. This vegetable is also known as Chayote Squash or vegetable pear. The chicken breast had been butterflied and beaten almost micron thin, consequently the meat was a bit dry, but the sauce was very pleasant.

Mab had the steak with peppercorn sauce.

Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

While the carnivorous Nick had a mixed grill of chicken, bacon, beef and sausage.

Mixed Grill

Now this little lot came to nearly €100 with a bottle of local rose. While the food was OK I didn’t think the dishes showed any real flair or originality that justified the 33% extra price tag over the Donna Maria, so I was a little disappointed. However if you don’t have the odd bum experience you can’t appreciate the good ones. We took a look at the desert menu, there was nothing that special on it, decided to spend the money on beer instead and scarpered off into the night.

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