Inspired by Algarvian heritage and time spent in southern Portugal, the trio behind Casa do Frango – Marco Mendes, Jake Kasumov and Reza Merchant – decided to bring the proper flavour of frango com piri piri to London. Because – newsflash – Nando’s is not it. This pitch-perfect addition to the Southwark dining scene cooks its chicken the Algarvian way: for 18 minutes over a charcoal grill masterminded by Portuguese pit master Lucidio da Monseca Monteiro. It’s never marinated, but instead brushed with an age-old garlic-based recipe of either piri piri or lemon and oregano. Unsurprisingly, with this much love involved in the cooking process, it’s seriously tender. Go for lemon and garlic half chook between two, with piri piri on the side – to leave plenty of room for the superlative starters and sides. Far from just a poultry joint, the fish dishes are especially well-executed: salted cod (bacalhau) and chickpeas came crowned with oozing boiled eggs, while Super Bok beer battered whitebait with smoked paprika aioli was borderline addictive. But it’s the African rice that deserves a medal – think crispy chicken skin, chorizo nibs and melt-in-the-mouth fried plaintain. Great value vinho verde and vinho branco pepper the largely Portuguese natural wine menu, but if you fancy a cocktail before dinner (the Mezcalita especially), weave your way to the Green Room, a sultry, velvet-lined speakeasy at the back of the restaurant. Whether you’re here for a quick lunch or a languorous dinner, Casa do Frango, with its vaulted ceiling, trailing greenery and hand-painted bar, feels like an authentically Portuguese event that might just tide you over until your next trip to Lagos. Que bonito!
Here Is Some More Great