A corner of Portugal comes to London and Mike drinks and eats it.
I follow those blue dots on Google Maps for walking directions as I search for a new Portuguese pop up called Lisboa Jardim, which my extensive foreign language knowledge guesses is Lisbon Garden.
The brains behind it are DEN LDN who curated the sell-out Woody Bear pop-up on an Oxford Street rooftop last winter. That was cheese based, but this is fish all the way.
At the north west corner of Portman Square, I see a sea of cobalt blue on the terrace outside the Radisson Hotel. It’s like a giant Google Maps blue dot in real life, so that must be it. There waiting is my old friend Andrew who is joining me to sample Portuguese cocktails and nibbles. He’s wearing a cobalt blue shirt too which is very’on message’.
Cocktails in tuna cans seems odd at first but we yank our ring pulls and fill our glasses of ice and orange slice. We wonder if these tinned beverages have been designed for those pampered cats in adverts, as an accompaniment to their pouched designer meals served up by their glamourous lady owners because, in the absence of a human partner, they are in love with them. Or maybe they just fancy getting drunk with their pet? We’ve all done it.
This particular cocktail/can fusion concept has actually evolved to evoke a bit of Portugal in London and comprises of tinned: Porto Adonis (White port, vermouth, orange bitters) Old Fashioned (Bourbon, bitters, sugar) and Negroni (Gin, Campari, vermouth) which we have now downed.
If canned cocktails are not to your taste a range of’uncanned’ are also available, so next I try a Red Pigeon (Tequila, vermouth, pink grapefruit, soda) while Andrew goes for a Hummingbird (Gin, elderflower, apple, lemon).
They are both delicious and refreshing although Andrew’s comes with sprigs of lavender which doesn’t help his hay fever but doesn’t stop him drinking it.
By now we need some food and choose sardines and spiced tuna pate from the range of canned fish products. Those advert cats on a date with their owner would love this place.
Our tins arrive on a rustic wooden board (presumably they eschew plates in Portugal as we now do in the UK) accompanied by local sourdough bread and pickle pairings of little silverskin onions, slices of gherkin and fat caperberries.
We smush our fish on the stodgy bread and tuck in, it’s lovely and all is well until a sardine slips from Andrew’s bread and swims it’s oily way all the way down his cobalt blue shirt leaving copious stains in its wake.
Perhaps it thought his shirt was the sea and made a break for freedom.
All in all, Lisboa Jardim is a good effort to transform a ‘next to pavement’ hotel space into a leafy terrace with lush planters aided by several existing mature London Plane trees, and the staff are all helpful and chatty and we;; into the food and drink they are offering.
We are now the cat who got the cream. It’s worth stopping here for those alone.
Andrew goes home to wash his shirt and as I sit on the train south.
It occurs to me that booze filled tuna cans could be very useful at the upcoming Crystal Palace festival, which it’s free but your own alcohol is not allowed and so last year suffered from endless booze queues.
Picture the scene as security check my picnic bag: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Twelve cans of tuna and an orange sir?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Um, yeah, I just really like tuna, with a slice of orange, OK?Ã¢â‚¬Â Bingo, you’re in and everyone’s your friend.
Lisboa Jardim is located at The Terrace, 22 Portman Square W1H 7BG and runs until the end of September. For more information visitwww.lisboajardim.london/