Pizzaboy and I had been looking to dine at a portuguese restaurant for a long time and for some strange reason I always thought that Little Portugual at Petersham was a little too hard to get to. It turned out that it was within walking distance from Petersham station and the cluster of Portuguese shops wasn’t too long either.
Silva’s was easy to spot being on the main corner of Little Portugual and from the outside it looked quite charming. We enter the premises through a side door and I think we could be forgiven in thinking that we had just stepped into the local tuckshop.
The takeaway bar was not the reason for our visit tonight, but the sight of freshly barbecued portuguese chickens in the display glass was enough to warrant a huge jaw drop from Pizzaboy and myself.
Just over the partition next to the take away bar is the warm wooden dining area. There is a large mural of the owners hometown, Madeira, across the main wall. It all adds to the cosy and inviting atmosphere of this family run restaurant.
We take a lot of time to order and settle on the chorizo with pickled vegetables for the entree. The chorizo was wonderfully fragrant and delicious. The sausages are sliced and then char-grilled. The lightly pickled vegetables were surprisingly moreish. They complimented the sausages really well, it could have been far to rich without them.
We order the Espetada a Madeirense expecting the conventional skewer of perfectly cooked beef. What we got were slabs of aged rump steak carnivorously stabbed through with a sword-like skewer and hung over our table with a piece of bread at the bottom to catch the drippings.
The steaks were succulent and full of meaty goodness. We take great joy in pulling the meat off the skewer and Pizzaboy is tempted to demonstrate his swashbuckling sword skills after we finish devouring the perfectly char-grilled steaks.
ps. eat the bread at the bottom with all the drippings. It’s gold!
The side salad was bursting with freshness. This was the ideal accompaniment to the rump steak. All that meat and no vegetables would make me feel like a slab of meat myself!
The portuguese are known for their Salted Cod dishes. I have never eaten it before, so I was keen on ordering it. There were three different types to choose from and I was lured towards the Bacalhau Lagareiro by the mention of a squashed potato in garlic and olive oil.
Sadly, the dish was not a standout. The salted cod was average and nothing to write about. However the roasted squashed potatoes were amazing. I virtually doused the potato in the garlic and olive oil. It was so good!
Guida, the owner, comes around and asks how our meal is going. I tell her that I am disappointed by the salted cod and she mentions that she doesn’t really like it herself and that it is an acquired taste.
Our tummys were full to the brim and we could barely fit another mouthful of anything. However, it didn’t feel right to visit a portuguese restaurant and not order a portuguese tart. Pizzaboy and I agree to share one. The portuguese tart is served very warm and the custard is almost oozing out from the pastry from the first bite. It is sweet, fragrant and so much more richer than the portuguese tarts I’ve eaten in the past. Guida tells me that the portuguese usually eat it warm. I never should have suggested to share this one with Pizzaboy.
The restaurant does brisk business through their takeaway section. There are people lining up for the charcoal chicken and the restaurant is at capacity by time we leave. I think I saw some people being turned away because they did not have reservations. I am definitely coming back for another round of the steaks on swords and perhaps their charcoal chicken.
Guida also tells me that Nhut Huynh of RQ Restaurant, is a regular customer. He gave her a signed copy of his cookbook Little Vietnam as a thank you.
Shop 1, 82-86 New Canterbury Rd
Petersham 2049 NSW
Phone: (02) 9572 9911
Tuesday to Sunday – 11am-9pm