After an English winter deprived of natural light it was a joy to fly into Lisbon for a weekend girls trip and feel the sun beam down upon our skin. Unfortunately we got slightly too excited about the sun and managed to get sun burnt in our first two hours of walking around. Time to beat a hasty retreat to eat lunch under cover. Restaurant Bonjardim seemed to fit the bill, our Time Out guide promised that it was cheap and cheerful with a large outdoor seating area under the cover of an awning.
As our first meal in Lisbon we were pleasantly surprised when crusty bread, butter and some soft cheese was brought to the table to begin. We soon learnt that this is standard practice in Lisbon and that you will be charged (generally around €1.50 to €2 per head) for this starter. The thing to order at Restaurant Bonjardim is the rotisserie chicken. This is the chicken that Portugal is famous for and which is poorly replicated around the world in the Nando’s fast food chain. Restaurant Bonjardim’s version was perfection itself. The chicken skin was crisp and lightly spiced with a subtle charcoal flavour while inside the meat was tender and succulent. You are provided with peri peri sauce in a little pot which you can paint on your chicken with a brush to give it a welcome kick of flavour and heat.
Where there is rotisserie chicken there must be chips however unfortunately Restaurant Bonjardim’s chips did not live up to the high standard of their chicken and were a little bit on the soggy side. Which is not to say that three hungry and slightly sun burnt girls did not wolf them down. Similarly our order of prawns was also disappointing. The prawns were generous in size but swimming in oil and dare I say it a little dull.
It was clear that Restaurant Bonjardim is all about its signature dish of chicken. Don’t stray too much further into the menu and you will have a great budget meal.
Details: Travessa de Santo Antao 12, Restauradores, Lisbon, Portugal (Ph 21 342 7424)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve