I had heard rumors of a restaurant whose name literally means bastard. I knew it was in downtown Lisbon and that they had a pretty Instagram account that I avidly followed. But I had yet to experience it for myself. So I stopped in for an impromptu ladies’ lunch with my mom to put satisfy my curiosity. What I discovered was the bastard child of traditional Portuguese cooking and a MasterChef final. Are you excited yet?
Restaurante Bastardo manages to remain a somewhat secret restaurant in a vibrant location. How? It’s on the first floor of the International Design Hotel hotel in downtown Lisbon – a stone’s throw away from two of my favorites stores: Manuel Tavares and the Confeitaria Nacional so it doesn’t get the footfall of street-level restaurants. Through its beautiful windows, you can look out over the famous Rossio Square and the statue of D. Pedro IV.
Before I go into the details of the food, let’s talk about where it got its name: the decor is comprised of unwanted furniture (unwanted like a bastard), so it’s all a mish-mash of styles. And yet, in my eyes, this restaurant is anything but unwanted! In fact, I couldn’t get enough of this place. The different lamps and the reclaimed wood bar were two of my favorite features.
Once you finish admiring the decor – complete with iconic movie lines on paintings – you can sit down and enjoy the meal. We started with two types of bread and some purple (beet and red onion) butter served to us in a Lego box. We then had an amuse-bouche of morcela and pear puree. Morcela is a black sausage and not usually my cup of tea, but this was surprisingly tasty. We shared two mains so we could try more than one dish: pork belly with parsnip, vindaloo and tamarillo, and a butternut squash risotto, spinach, truffle oil and goji berries. Both were fantastic. The pork had such wonderful strong flavors, whilst the risotto was milder and unbelievably creamy. For dessert, we couldn’t resist trying the bolo de bolacha, which is a traditional biscuit cake, served with chocolate mousse. It was sweet without being sickly. Best of all, the meal was entirely calorie-free! At least, that’s what the placemats on the tables tell you.
The staff were spectacular and made us feel very welcome. I’m recommending this place to all my friends and family. It integrates everything you look for in a restaurant: location, decor, food and service. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.