I’ve got a lot of love for piri-piri chicken, having enjoyed this fiery Mozambican-Portuguese speciality on trips to both Lisbon and Faro. A plate of barbecued chicken and chips with an ice-cold cerveja in the sunshine really is a match made in heaven.
So, with summer temporarily putting in an appearance on Easter bank holiday weekend, it felt like an opportune time to visit Cafe Portugal, one of Cardiff’s newest openings. Portuguese owned and run, Cafe Portugal's head chef has cooked in a number of restaurants across Portugal.
Located in the student stronghold of Cathays, Cafe Portugal’s concise menu features peri-peri chicken as a mainstay alongside a roster of daily specials such as octopus with potatoes, duck rice, caldo verde and espetadas. Everything’s well-priced with mains weighing in around the £7.50 - £10 mark and sides £2.50 (or £2 when ordered with piri-piri chicken).
Having pre-ordered in advance, I was pleased to see the chicken being cooked over charcoal when I arrived to collect my order.
Our whole peri-peri chicken (£12) really looked the business. Nicely licked with char, it was well-basted with spicy, zingy, garlicky piri-piri oil. The thighs, wings and drumsticks were impeccably juicy but the breast was a bit dry in parts. Overall, it was still very tasty.
Hand cut chips (£2) had a light crispness - they reminded me of a french fry crossed with a chip shop chip.
Bean rice (£2) had more than an air of Jamaican rice and peas about it. Distinct grained rice was seasoned with flavour-packed savoury stock and flecked with tender kidney beans.
Migas (£2) was enjoyably different, comprising of a mix of cabbage, bacon pieces, black-eyed beans and soft soaked breadcrumbs. The whole thing tasted rather porky and so was my kind of vegetable dish.
Mixed salad was perfectly fresh (£2) but fairly run of the mill.
For dessert, it would have been rude not to order one of Cafe Portugal’s pastéis de nata (£1.70). It was a fine example, combining crisp puff pastry, egg rich wobbly custard and a lightly charred top.
Hearty, comforting and good value, we enjoyed Cafe Portugal - if you’re looking for sunny Portuguese food then it’s worth giving this Cardiff indie a go.
Address - Cafe Portugal, 99 Wyeverne Rd, Cathays, Cardiff CF24 4BG
Telephone - 02921 324431