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Taste Of Portugal Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield finds a real food gem

Written by . Published on May 27th 2014.


Taste Of Portugal Reviewed
 

TASTE of Portugal was an absolute delight from start to finish. 

This is octopus as good steak, filling with tender meat behind the purple of the tentacle case. 

On Wednesday my seventeen-year-old had a football match at Irlam o'th' Heights. We drove back to Old Trafford through Salford down Langworthy Road and saw, half way down, Taste of Portugal. It looked inviting.

Saturday we were back, faces dropping as we saw all the tables were reserved. The elegant waiter said, "No problem, the reservations are for later, please this way." The waiter turned out to be the affable and informative proprietor, Fernando. 

Fernando, service with a smile

 

Fernando, service with a smile

The interior of Taste of Portugal is like a bar you might find in Porto or Lisbon, bric-a-brac heavy, complete with photographs of the food you might eat. There's even a signed shirt from fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, in this instance from his time at Manchester United. 

There are probably a lot of Ronaldo shirts about. 

We watched the Champions League Final later that evening - appropriately from Lisbon - and Mr Vanity kept plucking his shirt off and chucking it into the crowd. 

Ronaldo looks for a restaurateur in the crowd so he can him his shirt

Ronaldo looks for a restaurateur so he can present his shirt for mounting

I almost felt like doing the same after my clam starter (£11). I wanted to celebrate.

Cooked in a 'special' sauce that contained saffron and feisty amounts of garlic, these were the best clams I've had in ages. The spoon came in handy as I souped up the sauce. A hot starter of prawns (£7) without shells were a zingy joy too. 

Clam Perfection

 

Clam perfection

Atlantic facing Portugal was the first European nation to send sailors around Africa to India. The spices they brought back inform the food to a much greater degree than that of its Iberian neighbour, Spain, and they were very evident in Taste of Portugal's cooking.

The frango asado, or fried chicken (£9.50), and its 'super piri piri sauce', showed the heat off. The chicken was glorious, a flavoured crisp skin with moist flesh beneath. One son braved the super piri piri - home made and supplied in a self-apply vial - and loved it. I tried a drop and swear I scorched my tongue. The only failure in the meal was the poor fries that came with the chicken, the rice that also appeared with the dish was fine.

Marvellous chicken

 

Marvellous chicken

Octopus is specialOctopus is specialThe star course - along with the clams - was the octopus (£13.50) with cabbage and spuds plus caramelised onions. This was superb, as simple, rugged and elemental as the cliffs of Cabo de Roco.

In effect this is octopus as good steak, tender meat under the purple of the tentacle heavy flesh, filling and rewarding. It worked beautifully with the cabbage and the potatoes.

A cod dish (£11) mixed with very thin fried potatoes, onion, bound with egg and adorned with olives was pure peasant food. It was a dish that defined hearty and reeked of authenticity but took some ploughing through. 

Cod, olives and authenticity

 

Cod, olives and authenticity

Rich mousseRich moussePudds were a homemade chocolate mousse (£3.50) rich in cocoa. The custard tart (£1.15) was a lovely little thing dropped solo onto a plate but tasting lush. The presentation is clearly secondary to flavour in Taste of Portugal. 

The food was washed down with a pale, bright lager from the north of Portugal called Super Bock (£3.60 a pint). There's a range of Portuguese wines waiting for our next visit.

Seconds of research revealed this apt fact: 'Super Bock has history with Manchester. The supporters of Manchester United from the early 1990s often had games with teams such as FC Porto. The fondness for ‘Bock’ was developed into a chant for trips in Portugal – ‘Super Bock, superstar, gets you more pissed than Stella Artois’. 

Super Bock - very refreshing

 

Super Bock - very refreshing

That sort of drunken tomfoolery is the wrong mood for Taste of Portugal. As Fernando said, "We're a family restaurant, for relaxing and enjoying the food."

He's right. The place was like a vision of Earth as it is in Star Trek, harmony among multiple linguistic groups. A sweet atmosphere. 

And here's a tip.

If you want the bream or the razor clams, ring Fernando up twenty four hours before your visit and he'll get them in fresh.

That sort of personal service sums up Taste of Portugal.

If you like a homely neighbourhood buzz and really good uncomplicated -occasionally exciting - food, you should try this place. 

Langworthy Road looks tough in places, but life should be more than a beauty contest with extra hummus.

But why Langworthy, one of the UK's most deprived wards? I want to get on my soap box and make a point about this. 

We reviewed another Portuguese restaurant in Chorlton recently, Lusitano.

Chorlton is a much more predictable location, but on these pages we've frequently expressed the desire that instead of every retail unit in Chorlton, the Didsburys and the Heatons turning into a bijou bar or restaurant it'd be better if the love could be spread a little, especially into east and north Manchester and across into Salford.

People still eat and drink in those districts.

The problem is I know residents of south and central Manchester who are actually scared to go there. It's pathetic - would-be urbanites who are really the suburbanites they mock. These people are mainly Labour voters too, critical of 'cruel' Coalition policies, yet people who never stray from their comfort zone. 

 View from Taste of Portugal

 

View from Taste of Portugal

Yep, Langworthy Road looks tough but life should be more than a beauty contest with extra hummus. Opening in such districts can be a 'risk' worth taking.

"I knew about Langworthy Road, its reputation, when I opened two years ago," says Fernando. "But this is a family restaurant and it was a good site. There are many good people around here. I'm happy. I think we have even helped the area change a little."

Rejuvenation through food, rejuvenation through the good things in life, seems a sound policy.

Following Taste of Portugal's lead are other businesses such as well-regarded bar restaurant, Monty's. Maybe things are on the up in Langworthy. Maybe it's time for people to stray from their comfort zone.

I'll be re-visiting Taste of Portugal. I'm already pining for those clams and I think they're pining for me.  

ALL OUR SCORED FOOD REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL. REVIEW VISITS ARE UNANNOUNCED AND COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF ANY COMMERICAL RELATIONSHIP.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Taste of Portugal, 213/215 Langworthy Road, Salford, Manchester, M6 5PW

Rating: 15.5/20
Food: 7.5/10 (prawns 7, clams 8.5, octopus 8, chicken 8, cod 7, custard tart 7, mousse 7)
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing, 14-15 worth a trip, 16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

Deli food from Portugal too

Deli food from Portugal too

InteriorInterior

More interiorMore interior

ExteriorExterior

Deli victualsDeli victuals

Prawn delightsPrawn delights

Menu itemsMenu items

More menuMore menu

Menu plus

Menu plus

 

A shirt Ronaldo through into the crowd previouslyA shirt Ronaldo threw into the crowd previously

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Tommy MolloyMay 27th 2014.

Anybody wanting to leave the EU should have some squid and mash, and a half dozen Superbock here. That would soon change their mind. Langworthy Rd is the new Burton Rd

1 Response: Reply To This...
JonathanMay 28th 2014.

Leaving the EU will mean we can not longer import continental beer? I assume you're joking with the Burton Road comment?

AnonymousMay 28th 2014.

I've been here a few time and it's never let me down. Well done to ManCon for featuring a smaller, out-of-town place too.

AnonymousMay 28th 2014.

On our way back from Gigantic on Saturday night the taxi driver read out an alert, everyone to avoid Langworthy due to kids running wild with bats and knives. And then on Monday someone got shot in the Ashley Brook pub, according to the MEN it may be a case of mistaken identity. So let's not kid anyone it's the next Didsbury just yet.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
James ArkwrightMay 28th 2014.

Now let's list all the crime that takes place in Didsbury and Chorlton

AnonymousMay 28th 2014.

Part of the reason Salford is a breath of fresh air is the lack of Chorltonites demanding gluten free vegan flatbreads for their noisy and precocious children.

rinkydinkMay 28th 2014.

I live on nearby Chimney Pot Park and have done for 6 years. I have never ever witnessed anything untoward. Indeed, CPP itself is charming, as is nearby Buille Hill Park and the Heights. Everywhere has its dodgy bits. Let's not forget that Chorlton borders Whalley Range which is hardly salubrious. Hmmn.... I wonder if this comment will get deleted by the ManCon team, who are the most defensive lot of "journos" I have ever come across. I thought the comments section was for people to comment in. No?

Rented RoomMay 28th 2014.

What's wrong with Whalley Range?

ShwingbaddabaddaMay 29th 2014.

Rinkydink have you actually ever been to Whalley Range? It's a beautiful suburb with a solid community. I think you might be in a timewarp in the early 1990s mate.

rinkydinkMay 29th 2014.

Nothing wrong with Whalley Range. It's just nothing special but borders a trendy sought-after suburb. Didsbury/Burnage is another example. My point was that you are always going to get what is thought of as trendy and not so trendy side by side irrespective of whether it's within the same area or not. It doesn't matter. It happens everywhere

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2014.

Jesus, it's amazing how Chorlton is billed to be this bohemian paradise and yet the entire population seems to spend it's time trolling on the internet. Come to Salford where life is lived. I never cease to be amazed how some people take a positive article about a place and troll just to make themselves feel better and get past their complex of not being able to afford to live in Didsbury.

Eugene Spain)May 28th 2014.

Jonathan, Really enjoyed your review of 'The Taste of Portugal',as you say it makes a nice change for a good restaurant not to be in Town or the southside.I will definitely pay a visit on my next visit to the UK.Octopus as you know is served beautifully in Spain,but I normally get it 'rubbery' in the UK,good to read about a place that obviously knows what he is doing.

Melissa ConnellyMay 31st 2014.

I live just around the corner from here and really pleased it's got a good review, I'm going to check it out and stumble home full of super bock. Anyone travelling in from town get off at Langworthy tram stop and walk over the motorway bridge, it's just on the left about 5 mins up the road

AnonymousJune 7th 2014.

I like the way all the left wing Chorlton Guardian readers come one here and show their true Tory colours slamming a city based on out of date perceptions. Salford is pretty decent these days, it isn't the new Chorlton but nor would we want it to be. I hope the days never come when I bump into a Unicorn militant whilst having a quiet sup in Montys on Langworthy Road.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 7th 2014.

PS Taste of Portugal is as excellent as Montys.

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2014.

Superb comment, couldn't agree more. Monty's is excellent. More please

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Anonymous

Superb comment, couldn't agree more. Monty's is excellent. More please

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Anonymous

Jesus, it's amazing how Chorlton is billed to be this bohemian paradise and yet the entire…

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Anonymous

PS Taste of Portugal is as excellent as Montys.

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Anonymous

I like the way all the left wing Chorlton Guardian readers come one here and show their true Tory…

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