For the founders of Na Pedra, their dream of bringing a taste of Portugal to Sheffield has been a long time in the making.
Pedro Costa has been in catering for 30 years, starting as a boy serving customers on the beaches of his native Algarve and until recently working in the more refined if less sunny surrounds of Italian restaurant Vero Gusto in Sheffield, which he has called home for five years.
Nelson Furtado, who hails from Portugal’s capital Lisbon, had spent the last four years working at a door factory but – no jokes here – was looking for a way out.
So when the good friends found a vacant unit on bustling Abbeydale Road, they leapt at the chance to go into business together.
The restaurant, which opened four months ago, serves a range of traditional Portuguese dishes like bacalhau grelhado (grilled cod) and bitoque (steak topped with a fried egg), though the menu is still evolving.
Its name translates as ‘on the stone’, a reference to the hot stones on which customers can cook their own steak.
This is the only way to truly appreciate a good slice of beef, says Pedro, who claims Na Pedra is the first restaurant in the city to offer this fun and sociable way of dining.
To start, we opt for rissois – a selection of croquettes filled with cod, prawns and minced beef – and choco frito – battered cuttlefish served with the Portuguese take on the traditional Marie Rose sauce.
The rissois are satisfyingly crisp, with the rich beef filling our favourite, while the cuttlefish is perfectly tender if a touch light on the seasoning.
For mains, we choose custoletas de borrego – grilled lamb chops with lemon and rosemary – and arroz de marisco – a seafood stew with a tomato and white wine sauce.
The lamb is so beautifully cooked the generous serving of four chops is soon reduced to a pile of bones, while the stew is as refreshing as a dip in the Atlantic and abounds with monkfish, mussels, clams and king prawns.
For dessert, we pick the flan – a generous serving of custardy goodness with an intense caramel sauce – and the chocolate cake – tasty but lacking the cocoa punch I’d hoped for.
The bill – including two large glasses of the very quaffable house red – comes to a reasonable £60.20.
If you’re not able to make it to Portugal this is a great introduction to its largely unsung culinary charms, and even for homesick Portuguese diners the flavours will not disappoint.
Star rating out of five:
Three more to choose from
La Mama Latin Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Abbeydale Road
The Mediterranean Restuarant, Sharrowvale HE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT,
El Toro, Broomhill