Boavista on Radford Road in Hyson Green is a Portuguese café and restaurant catering for the locals, and the local Portuguese expat community. As we found ourselves walking up past the café checking out the area near the tram stop we peered in the window. As we did the window cleaner, of all people, told us “they have the best coffee in town”.
I don’t even like coffee but I do love trying somewhere new so I took that as a sign or portent from the food gods and decided to pop in to see what was occurring.
Inside it was like stepping into Portugal, perhaps a random café in Lisbon or Porto. There was a group of Portuguese men drinking coffee, and they all looked up and welcomed us in. It was just as if I was walking into my local pub.
We felt at ease and relaxed and it was just like being on our holibobs in Portugal (forgiving the cold and rain outside!)
Mum had a proper coffee, while I opted for the child friendly Latté, a coffee for hipsters and tea drinkers. I then made the executive decision to get a little bit of snap, Portuguese style, to munch on.
I spent quite a few happy summers and long weekends visiting Portugal both for Golf, for the Euros back in 2004, and for various friends weddings.
Mostly we hit up Porto and Lisbon, plus a bit of Algarve and when we did we fell in love with their meaty sandwiches, So guess what I was in the mood for?
Bifano de Porto is a traditional Portuguese sandwich filled with marinated pork steak served in Portuguese bread, it is a bit of a classic, so we certainly had to order one of those. The typical marinade is garlic, salt, paprika, red pepper paste and white wine, fried up with onions and olive oil.
I did not go out back to check up on what was happening in the kitchen but I can confirm that I was getting a lot of those flavours from each bite into this simple yet beautiful sandwich.
It was also a total bargain at £3.50, you will struggle to get anything comparable for that price point in town, and that is why you need to explore a bit more if you want some great food from our diverse communities in Nottingham!
Prego is a traditional Portuguese sandwich of marinated beef steak in Portuguese bread, we had to have one of these too. This one is usually quicker to make as there is less marinade time, it is basically flavoured with a lot of butter, a lot of garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Typically the steak is pounded to tendorise it and often you spear the meat with the garlic clove as well.
I like this sandwich a tiny bit more than the Bifano (but luckily we were sharing!), you can really taste the butter and garlic, and they also leave the meat just a little bit pink, an added bonus was that all the juices run into the bread which soaks up all the lovely goodness!
This sandwich at Boavista is also a great value bite at £4.50! OMG I am loving this place 🙂
Pasteis de nata – Portugese Custard Tart
I know I shouldn’t, but I could not resist sampling a morsel from the small selection of traditional Portuguese pastries on the counter at Boavista. I recognised quite a few from my travels in Portugal but the one that leapt out at me and onto my plate was the Pasteis de nata, that is Portugese Custard Tart to you and I.
It has an amazing light and layered flaky pastry crust, filled with a soft custard and sprinkled with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon. I love these, almost as much as I love the back story of their history. They say that the Chinese got into these babies after the Portuguese run Macau back in the day introduced them to the locals. This makes sense as I have eaten similar in Hong Kong and in nearby Shenzhen.
Whatever, you can just ride the tram to Hyson Green, pop over the road to Boavista and pick one up to brighten up your day Portuguese style 🙂
So back to the start and the man suggesting we pop in for the “best coffee in town!” Now I am a tea drinker and have no reputable opinion on the subject, but I will say that it was a jolly nice latté.
I liked it even more when I found out that it was only costing me £1.90, Mums ‘americano’ was only £1.20.
All in all it was a great value tasty lunch, two big meat sandwiches, a cake, and a couple of coffees for about £12
Some Menu options
There is a lot of classic Portuguese fare on the menu, plenty that I fancy coming back over again at some point to try out again. I was pretty curious to try out the “Pescada Cozida com Todos” described as ‘Hake, poached with vegetables, potatoes and boiled eggs’ it is sounding like a deconstructed fish pie situation. I also ‘heard’ that they do grilled sardines, and grilled king prawns with garlic.
I feel hungry again already!
Boavista is located at 215 Radford Road, Hyson Green, NG7 5 Nottingham
You can get here on the Tram to Hucknall, getting off at the Forest and walking up Radford Road, or at the Hyson Green Tram Stop if you are coming into town from Hucknall
Check them out on their Facebook Page as well