Today’s philosophy lesson will focus on the age-old question:
If a group of people decide to go to Nando’s, settling on the date and destination well in advance… is it cheeky?
Graciously stepping up to distract from the inevitable existential confusion that would arise from thinking about this too hard, is Casa do Frango – a kind of luxe piri piri chicken joint that’s set on doing Portuguese chicken (or frango) right.
Taking up residence over two floors of a huge Victorian warehouse in London Bridge, the Casa commandeers a vast, 5m tall, skylit space with distressed whitewashed brickwork, huge boughs of overhanging greenery and grand, original arched windows. Inside this lofty arena they’ve set slow-whirring ceiling fans; long, communal tables; and hand-painted motifs lining the bar in a nod to Lisbon’s iconic trams. Not remotely cheeky.
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of chicken. It’s all charred over a wood-fired grill, butterflied, and smothered with one of their three signature sauces (oregano, lemon and garlic, or piri piri) by Algarvian ‘pitmaster’, Lucidio da Fonseca Monteiro. Accompanying all that is a jubilant chorus of sides; African Rice (with crispy chicken skin), tomato salad with blowtorched green peppers, and hand-cut Portuguese fries. And there’s plenty for non-frango fans too, from salt cod fritters to chargrilled cauliflower and piri piri garlic prawns. Naturally, you’ll cap off your meal with an inordinate number of pasteis de nata.
The bar’s a beauty, stacked behind a sweeping forest green counter. Prop yourself up here and knock back something typically Portuguese, whether it’s a Port and Tonic, Super Bock Beer, or Vinho Verde (‘green wine’, made from young grapes harvested in a DOC wine-making region in the north).
If you’re after cocktails, though, head towards the unmarked door at the back to find Casa do Frango’s hidden bar, The Green Room, where they serve cocktails like negronis, watermelon margaritas and pisco sours, as well as twists on the classics like the chocolate-laden Port Old Fashioned.
Dark, moody and impossibly romantic, make sure you book your dinner between Thursday and Saturday so you can pay both spots a visit.
After all, it takes two to frango.
NOTE: Casa do Frango is open daily for lunch and dinner (no dinner on Sundays). The Green Room bar is open Thurs-Sat, 5-11pm. You can reserve a table, and find out more, on their website HERE.
ALSO NOTE: Their debut was a hit – you can now find a second Casa do Frango in Shoreditch.
Casa do Frango | 32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU
Like Portuguese food? You’ll find lots of it in our guide to 48 Hours in Lisbon