If you find yourself in Lisbon and want to try some inventive cookery, Bonsian chef Ljubomir Stanisic has adopted the famous flavours of Portugal to create a memorable dining experience. Although his taverna style restaurant fits perfectly in with the relaxed Bairro Alto neighbourhood, his food is anything but laid back. Stanisic’s set menu is a showcase of Portugal’s incredible produce (above all seafood) alongside his modern cooking techniques. The results are very enjoyable.
The first course starts the meal off with a touch of humour. Thin slices of dehydrated bacalhau are hung on a mini washing line to remind you of the sheets drying above Lisbon’s streets. The wafers of salt cod are there to plunge into very tasty coriander aioli and a red pepper coulis dips.
The next dish then steps up a gear. Delicate chunks of oyster and prawn are enveloped in a wonderfully irony oyster foam. That sits a-top a chlorophyll purée which is thick, bold and grassy. Sea asparagus gives some bite, while a spoon of sea urchin adds its sweet, unmistakable flavour. Altogether, this is a seafood-lover’s dream.
Then it’s maki rolls made with lighted roasted beef, though there isn’t a grain of rice in sight. Instead, the meat tubes have been piped with a luxurious cream of foie gras. Seasoning comes from sesame seeds that coat the roll, as well as poppy seeds, pimento and a dashi sauce that dress the plate. This saltiness and zing balances the richness of the roll perfectly.
Another dish (of the 10) worth mentioning is the powerhouse seared cod. The well-cooked piece of fish is presented with three accompaniments. One, a lupin bean purée (think broad bean structure and butterbean flavour), which has an almost hummus-like texture. A Béarnaise foam with is dotted with roasted garlic. The last, a slow-poached egg yolk. This dish is rich, but the cod manages to pull all of the flavours together nicely.
Given all of these combinations and the use of clever technique, it’s hard to imagine how Restaurante 100 Maneiras doesn’t have ★1 star. For us, it certainly deserves one. Stanisic’s food celebrates Portuguese cuisine in an exciting, vibrant way. If you’re in Lisbon, you really must go.