Mar Do Inferno: The World’s Best Seafood in a “Tent” above the “Jaws of Hell”.
Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália, 2750-642 Cascais, Portugal / 09 марта 2017
This one is simple – see the title.
That’s right. I dare to allege it. That summer I’ve travelled down the entire coast, even up to Morocco. I’ve tried everything and everywhere. It was good, I don’t ague… yet…
It seems like a number of factors came together in here: OCEAN, cold water, wild fish only – delivery is twice a day, and good hands of the owners and cooks – otherwise the restaurant wouldn’t have been here for more than 50 years.
So, having visited dozens of fish places, I recall nothing as vividly as… a banal wild sea bass in salt from the “tent”.
The tent looks like any tent except for Rolls-Royces and Bentleys that bring here Cascais’ luxury grannies for lunch. They’re fed on oysters, wear Chanel and pearls (according to my theory, they just sleep all nights long and that’s why they get out of their shells-villas only on weekends and only for lunch).
Everything’s very simple inside. Some cheap forks. Tableware is like canteen’s one.
All the food is cooked also as simple as possible, quickly and without any flossing: salt, grilled, boiled, pan-fried, raw – that’s it.
At the entrance there’s a stall with shellfish, around 3 meters high; in the back there’s another one with fish. All the fish is of different size, all wild. Sometimes you can find there up to there-kilo sea basses, just lying there with their eyes glittering.
Though you should go for one of 2 kilos at most – if more, something happens to them and you won’t have that magical taste of its flesh that you’re expecting: instead just a plain sea bass.
Over all those years I’ve never read the menu (although they do have it). It was always as if we’d starved for days: we used to order a lot of everything, all dealt per weight, and then also some fish. And desserts. And Muscatel. Drop the curtain.
It was here that for the first time I’ve learned A: prawns aren’t decorative; B: each species has its own taste.
Scampi, carabineros, pink ones, berings, small striped ones, huge burgundy deep-sea ones, and more, and more, and more. And then percebes, snails, scallops.
And their atomic potato, and spinach, and that one – what was the name again? – AI-O-LI. Mayonnaise is homemade, you can safely have even some plastic with it.
Overall, it’s a narcotic place.
Besides, if there’s a storm, and sixteen-storey high fountains of water hurl against the rock wall in the Devil Bay, rising up into the sky like foamy pillars, and that rain of water splashes falls above you, pours on the top of the roof – then you’ll also be provided with free decorations that are just as it’s supposed to be.
PS: They also have… shhh! a LEMON-MERINGUE cake. It’s just fucking sheer heaven! It’s like an atomic bomb in your mouth. Look for it at the dessert table.