There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to Lisbon's culinary offerings: from the expertly prepared seafood you can expect to find in even the smallest hole-in-the-wall to the nearly ubiquitous pasteis de nata custard tarts or the ginginha do carmo sold at the base of the Elevador de Santa Justa. However, you would be remiss not to visit Aura Lounge Cafe. On warm days, the tables outside offer spectacular views of the surrounding Praça do Comércio square and Tagus River and, inside, a chicly intimate eatery perfect for a night out. Its menu, under the direction of Chef Duarte Mathias (below), highlights traditional Portuguese cuisine with a sophisticated, modern flair like the succulent octopus in rosemary olive oil served with sauteed turnip tops or the veal fillet with cabbage and maize bread.
Veal fillet with cabbage & maize bread
200 g beef (veal fillet) 100 g potatoes sliced and cooked with the skin 25 g black-eyed peas 50 g cabbage 3 tbsp olive oil coriander 2 cloves garlic salt pepper roasted corn bread 1 slice (undone) thyme paprika 1 tsp red wine vinegar bay leaf
Cabbage & maize bread: Sauté the primor potatoes, the cabbage, the black-eyed peas and corn bread in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. When finished, spoon into a 8 cm-diameter ring and press down firmly. Remove the ring.
Meat: Add only salt to taste before grilling the meat. Place the fillet on the already prepared cabbage.
For the sauce: Brown the garlic in olive oil with bay leaf. Remove from heat. Add the vinegar, coriander and paprika. Rectify the flavors (salt and pepper). Finally pour the sauce over the meat.