Move along Nando’s, for a real Portuguese taste sensation Almada restaurant on Cowbridge road is the real deal.
This long-standing addition to Canton’s colourful coterie of cuisines has gained a reputation for its great menu and decent choice of wines.
I was given an appetizer of pickled carrots sprinkled with Mediterranean herbs; sweet and heavily seasoned they were as moreish as they were unusual.
But my starter was particularly impressive; a crisp bruschetta lavishly spread with a generous helping of crushed black olive tapenade and topped with char-grilled peppers, crumbled goats cheese and crisp Portuguese chorizo.
It looked every bit as delicious as it tasted, with the tartness of the tapenade contrasting perfectly with the smooth texture of the crumbled cheese.
The bread was stone baked, and would have worked well on its own with oil and balsamic vinegar. I also tried a goat’s cheese salad with beetroot. While I have to say I have never liked this hellish purple vegetable, I was nearly a convert with the salad’s sweetness more than offset by crisp rocket, walnuts and creamy goat’s cheese.
As it was when my main arrived I was more than ready to try Almada’s take on piri piri chicken, one of my favourite dishes.
The chicken was char-grilled kebab style and marinated in a sumptuous concoction of Portuguese chilli and spices. More impressively, crisp, homemade chips accompanied the chicken.
As with the starters the presentation was once again impressive but the chicken was second to none. Though the piri piri sauce wasn’t nearly as spicy as I expected, it was rich and full of flavour. I wasn’t even bothered by the fact it had soaked the chips beneath the main cut of meat, turning them a bit soggy- the sauce was absolutely fantastic.
All in all Almada is one of Cardiff’s better Portuguese restaurants, combining excellent presentation and service with an impressive and authentic culinary flair.