Comfort with a touch of Luxury

Casa Lusitana situated in São Tomé, dishes out delicious, heartwarming food that makes you feel right at home

Apart from its pretty houses in small, narrow lanes, Fontainhas is now known for its varied eateries accommodated in quaint little houses with sloping roofs and walls painted in pretty, pastel shades.
Casa Lusitana is the latest addition to the Latin Quarter, which is housed in a charming residence which was the first store that used to import wines from Portugal and went by the same name. The original signboard still graces this pretty blue house.

A collaboration between Anisha Hassan and Chef Vasquito Alvares, Casa Lusitana is based on the same concept as ‘Saligao Stories’, another restaurant owned by Anisha. Post Covid, Anisha wanted a smaller set up in the prettiest corner of Panjim. “Chef Vasquito is famed for his grilled meats and barbecues, so we decided to come together and offer a plethora of food which is an amalgamation of luxury and comfort,” says Anisha.

They have a special curated menu for cocktails which changes with the season as well as ingredients available in the market. The bar menu has crafted, house special cocktails like Guava Chilli, Berry Bombshell, The Grinch, Kernel’s Whiskey to name a few. The menu also has other spirits like vodka, whiskey, rum, gin and tequila.

We decided to try The Grinch and Kernel’s Whiskey whose descriptions sounded as interesting as the names. The Kernel’s Whiskey was served along with a little paper cone of popcorn clipped to the whiskey glass and was a beautiful infusion of the spirit as well as the snack. The Grinch was presented by the bartender on a wooden plate covered by a glass cloche, enveloped in smoke. The presentation itself was the highlight of the bar menu and the smoky flavour was well blended with the green apple and vodka concoction.

Coming to the starters, we were spoilt for choice with the likes of Crab Cakes, Chorizo Stuffed Mussels, Ceviche, Trivandrum Wings, Prawn Toast, Pate de Figado de Frango as a Chicken/Vegetable Lumpia which is a Philipino spring roll picked up from Vasquitos Philipino friends. We chose the Prawn Toast which is their version of shrimp encased in small toasts served with a thecha, shrimp and garlic chutney; and the Trivandrum Wings which are spicy wings marinated in a coastal masala and finished with an East Indian butter. Crunchy and bursting with flavour, the wings were a clear winner amongst the starters. The main course boasts of dishes like Pork Ribs and Pork Porchetta in the pork options; Jujeh Kebab, Grandma’s Roast Chicken and Galinha Moçambicana in poultry; Nandan Fry, Beef Tagliata and Fillet Mignon in beef; Peixe com Ameijoas, Blackened Fish, Camarão Grehlado, Prawn Ghee Roast and Caldeirada de Lulas in Seafood; while veggie options dishes like Cheesy Brinjela, Vegetable Burros and Feta and Baby Spinach Pockets.

The Galinha Moçambicana, Prawn Ghee Roast and Feta and Baby Spinach Pockets made it to our choice of mains. With an exotic sounding name like Galinha Moçambicana, this dish consisted of boneless chicken marinated in African spices and served with a peri peri sauce, garlic rice and salda mista. The pieces of chicken were tender and succulent with just the right hint of spice, and hit all the right notes on the palate. The Prawn Ghee Roast consists of large prawns tossed in homemade ghee and East Indian masala served with parathas. A truly delicious preparation, it’s a must have when visiting this place. The Baby Spinach Pockets were made up of Pasta sheets stuffed with feta and spinach and finished with sage butter. With just the right amount of filling each forkful was a delight.

The best part of any meal is the dessert and Casa Lusitana does not disappoint. Bread and Butter Pudding, Boozy Lava Cake and Almond Pancakes make it to the dessert list. We were served the Boozy Lava Cake which is topped with a scoop of ice cream and Sticky Toffee Pudding which was slices of pudding served on a bed of toffee sauce. Both the desserts are to die for and I’d visit the place just to try them out again.
They will be adding staple Hyderabadi dishes like Haleem and Raan, as well as exotic dishes like octopus and duck to the menu.

At Casa Lusitana, they believe that food should nourish both the body and soul. “Every dish is made with love and the freshest local ingredients. From our kitchen to your plate is our journey of passion and we hope you experience it in every morsel,” Anisha concludes.

Restaurants like these should be celebrated, especially one which is a visual treat for the eyes and promises to leave one craving for more.

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