Oporto - Portuguese independently owned restaurant on Ealing Green
It is more than two years since our last report on Oporto, and although feedback to www.lammas.com has generally been enthusiastic, we particularly wanted to check out a couple of issues raised. First of all was Anna's experience of feeling unwelcome with her (admittedly cross-country style and therefore quite large) baby buggy. The other was the funereal gloom of one of the staff. We are glad to report that we did not encounter either problem.
Several of us arrived at the restaurant one weekday evening with a fairly new, hungry and a touch grizzly baby in tow, no doubt to the apprehension of our fellow-diners. Not a hint of a problem as far as the staff were concerned - they helped us arrange the table to fit the small buggy in and made us comfortable, which made it far easier to settle the baby. The staff checked if we were ready to order, but did not pressurise us in any way. Service was leisurely, but as since our May 2003 visit the restaurant has received a license, a perfectly palatable selection of wines kept us happy. The food continues to be hearty, plentiful and tasty - the grilled sardines juicy with a crisp outside, the other fish dishes well seasoned and the mash fluffy and full of flavour. So the person serving us didn't grin all over his face or chat, but he was approachable and helpful, and that was fine with us. Unfortunately, we ate far too much to contemplate dessert, but the coffee was excellent. We were the only ones left at 11.30, but weren't hurried. I still think they could dim the lights lower and earlier, but that's a minor quibble. Who should go? Couples who know each other already (rather than those bent on seduction), families, small groups of friends and anyone who wants a pleasant evening in a civilised local independently-owned restaurant.
Cost for a main course, plenty of wine, coffee came out at £15 a head.
We tried Oporto for an evening meal this time. The owner is applying for a license, but currently you need to bring your own alcohol; the corner shop not far down the road a some reasonable choice. The service was quiet, attentive, and good humoured, and as the last ones in (the chairs were unusually comfortable, that was our excuse), we weren't hurried at all. The food in the evening is genuinely Portuguese - very peppery squid, spicy mussels, we all had fish which generally came with some authentic (if a little dull) potatoes & salad. The baccalau (salted cod), was voted excellent by our Mediterranean expert. They should consider subduing the lights earlier to make it feel more like a special occasion place rather than cafe that happens to stay open. May 2003
The Portuguese owners of Oporto have gone for a smart, simple look, with sufficient space between the tables to give it a calm and comfortable feel. The service is classy, with a friendly greeting from the waiter as you enter and prompt service. Children are treated very well, with a high chair available and plenty of smiles all round.
September 30, 2005