It’s the hottest day of the year and walking into Casa Do Franco feels almost surreal.
The establishment is a glorious first-floor space, all wood floors and exposed (very old) brick and huge windows that floods the place in natural light. Beams are artfully exposed, foliage purposefully placed and old schools ceiling fans in full swing. It’s stunning.
My terrible iPhone photos below really do it no justice.
Since it has been dubbed as the “posh Nando’s”, you won’t be surprised to hear that there isn’t a refillable Coke and gelato machine in sight. We’re not in Nando’s any more, Toto.
The same friendly, relaxed vibe is however still very much present and the staff are extremely helpful. We hadn’t booked and despite it being the hottest day of the year (yes I’m still going on about the god awful weather!) the restaurant was heaving. Luckily we were able to get a seat straight away.
Casa Do Frango aka House of chicken serves up Algarvian-style piri piri chicken cooked over a wood fire. In fact they’re so committed to authenticity that they’ve even brought over Portuguese pitmaster, Lucidio da Fonseca Monteiro to London for the job.
I checked in with the restaurant to find out if the chicken was halal and they confirmed that it was.
The menu is pretty straightforward despite looking complex on first glance. Frango (Portuguese for chicken) is the only large plate: half a free-range bird brushed with piri piri, lemon or oregano for £10. This include no sides.
Personally I think it’s reasonable considering how the chicken is cooked and the fact that we’re not actually in Nando’s!
We decided to opt for: The chicken (duh), Sweet potato Feijoada and Batatas Fritas.
The food took a little bit longer to come out than I wanted but the restaurant was packed out and of course everything was cooked fresh so I couldn’t complain really.
The chicken was barbequeued to perfection. It was juicy and came off the bone really well. However I did think it was a tad…bland. I like lots of sauce so the little shot glass of sauce didn’t cut it for me and I had to ask for 5. Having drenched the chicken it was the best chicken I’ve had in a long time. A really really long time.
And it is really, really nice barbecued chicken. The Batatas Fritas were standard hand cut fries, if I’m honest, they weren’t anything spectacular but I mean who doesn’t like chips.
The Sweet Potato Feijoada – crispy artichoke, Mushroom, White beans and oregano croutons was ordered on a whim. This dish was pretty unusual to me but surprisingly nice. Extremely light starter that was yum but didn’t touch the sides since I was famished. Still good though.
Next time I would definitely go for a salad to accompany the chicken though.
That’s right, There definitely will be a next time. The food, atmosphere and service scored top marks with me and considering it’s a “posh Nando’s” the price wasn’t too bad either.
Aside from missing the unlimited bottles of sauce (it became tiresome to keep asking for more), I loved it. Casa Do Frango have hit the nail on the head.
Would I recommend it? If you want to woo your date or just chill at a leisurely lunch with your mates whilst feeling like you’re in a European country somewhere then this is definitely the restaurant for you.