On the hunt for some Portuguese food, I asked a few Portuguese and Brazillian friends and selected Taberna do Mercado for a dinner date. This place with a modern take on traditional Portuguese food and Nuno Mendez behind the scenes seemed very tempting. I made the reservation which was easy enough and on the day got a call to confirm it. Looks like they were eager to see me too, sweet stuff!!
We arrived to find a cute little cafe cum restaurants on one side of Old Spittlefields market with a heated outdoor area as well as a simple but very classy interior.
We were seated and provided menus by a friendly waitress. The menu had a few dishes only and the immediate challenge was to find dishes without pork which wasn’t easy but we did it. Drinks selection was quite comprehensive however and we could see plenty of classics in there.
We ordered Prawn pastries for starters, these little pastries were like empanadas but are made of a thin crispy crust and cheese inside, a bit like Pastile Sandwiches in Brazil. With a little squeeze of lemon the taste got even better and then we got our second surprise; mackerel in a tin. When we ordered we expected fish that was tinned but out in a plate but this was still inside. It was quite delicious nevertheless and with bread and fish oil we loved it.
We got quite excited by this point and waited for our mains, a little crunchy piece of bread topped with bacon and other vegs for the other one and duck thigh for me.
I was expecting a full leg but it came a bit better, in a sauce there were chunks of duck meat topped with very interesting and tangy herbs which added a little twist to the flavour. I got some crisp bread which made it even better.
I was told to try the dessert for sure because that’s the part of menu which is closer to the traditional cuisine. We got rice puddings which came topped with that awesome cinnamon sprinkle and even though the lemony twist was missing characteristic of it, it made up for it by being amazingly soft, warm and with the urge to keep eating more.
Taberna do mercado delivered its promise of Portuguese food with a modern twist for sure , the food was absolutely amazing however we would have liked it more if there were a few more non pork options and we didn’t have to wait that long between courses.