deSILVA’s is the result of a journey; a journey into my Portuguese heritage. Along the way, I have discovered just how amazing Portugal, its people and its culture are. And I want to share that with you through the thing I am most passionate about and what I believe they do best: food. I was born and bred in the UK and consider myself a true Brit. But in recent years I have been fascinated with exploring my paternal homeland with more intent. Whilst my father, aged 18, abandoned the cobbled, tram-lined streets of Lisbon in favour of the gold-paved (supposedly) streets of London, my grandmother - Vovo - aunts, uncles and cousins have lived in Lisbon all their lives. In fact, Vovo has been in the very same apartment for some 70 years! And so, I have been going to visit the family since I was a child. These visits have always been dominated by food. “It’s good to be eating again!” is one of the most common phrases in our family. Meals always start at a civilised time, but will end hours and hours later…at a thoroughly uncivilised time! Lunch rolls easily into supper and supper almost into breakfast. Almost. As we come to the table, it is always laden with breads, hams, cheeses, olives. Or if we’ve made a trip to the coast, platters groaning with the freshest of seafood - prawns, goose barnacles, clams, whitebait…
My favourite dish has always been Bacalhau Assado no Forno - salted cod fish baked in the oven in a golden sea of olive oil and garlic with “punched” potatoes - little new potatoes that are bashed so that they absorb the amazing flavours of the oil.
Or take me to a beachside cafe at Carcavelos - only a short train ride from Lisbon city centre - for grilled sardines. Fresh, fresh fish flavoured simply with chargrill from the barbecue, salt and lemon juice, served with sunshine ripened tomatoes, boiled potatoes and a glass (or three) of vino verde. With your toes in the sand and the Atlantic ocean sparkling in the background - what could be better?
Now, none of this is particularly sophisticated or complicated. But that’s the beauty of it. The flavours are bold and gutsy, rustic and unmistakably Portuguese. This is produce that’s so good, it requires very little fuss - just an enthusiastic group of people to enjoy it together.
And that is what you will discover here at deSILVA’S. Outstanding quality produce which has been made with care and consideration for the land from which it comes. Artisanal, seasonal, organic food that tastes just as it should.
Enjoy! Charlotte x