The Café O’Porto has been an institution in the Ladbroke Grove area for decades, opened up by an earlier generation of Portuguese immigrants escaping the dictatorship of Salazar and settling around Notting Hill before its gentrification. All those years later they are still serving up fabulous milky coffees, sandwiches and the most fantastic custard tarts (pastéis de nata) on this earth. We popped in early on a Saturday morning before the hordes arrived for Portobello Market. Originally we were going to go to the equally excellent Café Lisboa across the road but it was already rammed full and the driving autumn rain made an outside table impracticable. Thankfully O’Porto had one table left.
I ordered two large coffees and two cured ham and cheese toasted sandwiches. The fresh and crusty bread was lightly toasted, and over flowing with filling, all coming in for less than a £10 for both of us. A real bargain in this part of London nowadays. Cheese was tangy and slightly melted and the ham with just a touch of saltiness improved only by a few twists of ground black pepper. The café was buzzing with chatter, punctuated with the hissing of the espresso machine and the chinking of spoons on saucers. It was almost like being in Portugal itself; the fact most of the customers were Portuguese being testament to the authenticity and excellence of the food on offer.
The cabinets displayed an array of superb patisseries but, for once, I managed to resist the tempting pastries….this time!
Thankfully we now have several great Portuguese places in our own neighbourhood of NW10, A Pousada, O Bombeiro and Café Tamariz all serving excellent fare. You have to watch these immigrants though….They come over here open cafes, serve great coffee and food…. whatever next…….