Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Review - Atoca

This guy and I are continuing to have a frenaissance. (I didn't coin that term, Friends did, and if you don't get the reference you were having too productive of a childhood.) Contrary was recently speaking to me about how it's hard to tell whether to give your honest opinion about a place/event if someone else suggested/treated you to it. That situation arose when we went to Atoca as it was Frenaissance Man's suggestion. If you're at dinner with someone and you confess that you're not enjoying the food, you come across like a snob who loves complaining. (Which I suppose I am but I don't want people to know that about me straight away.) So I mumbled some vague remarks about how the pork wasn't particularly tender when really, I thought all the food was average to poor. But the point is, that doesn't matter! Obviously it's ideal if the food and company are good but if one had to be off, I'd choose for it to be the food any day. We ordered an omelette to share with chips and salad, vegetarian lasagne and a pork stew.
Most things were mediocre and some elements were just wrong. Let's start with the mediocre: omelette, salad and lasagne. The omelette was cheesy and sweet but didn't do enough to make me rave about it. And it certainly is possible to make an omelette sing if you go to the right restaurant. The lasagne had worryingly cold vegetables within but the sauce was ok and had more depth to it than the rest of the flavours. The salad was undressed and the red onions were sliced too thickly to be pleasant. The pork stew was the real disaster. The pork was too tough and the sauce was just peculiar; reminiscent of heavy, MSG fuelled Chinese food. That sort of sauce has its moments but not in a Portuguese restaurant. I think the biggest problem was that none of the dishes seemed particularly Portuguese. And I think the most damning comment I can make is that the chips were the best bit. But that's OK because we enjoyed some deliciously cheap sangria and it's about the whole experience, not the food.

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