posted by Colm Hanratty | 0 Comments
The first time I visited Lisbon was just under four years ago when I stayed in one of its top hostels, Oasis Mansion. After checking in, I asked Damian the manager there about good places to eat out, among other things. “Do you like meat?” he asked. “Absolutely,” I replied enthusiastically. “Then you need to check out ‘Cabacas’ for a ‘slice on the stone’ – it’s a Portuguese speciality”.
So I know what (some of) you are thinking – what is a ‘slice on the stone’? This is a lean piece of fillet steak served raw along with a piping hot lava stone. You’ve guessed it – you cook the steak yourself. Not the most conventional way of cooking a steak, I agree, but it is an interesting way of doing it, and one which is extremely popular in Portugal.
It is served just like the picture above, along with two sauces, some salt for seasoning and a bowl of chips (or French fries to you American folk reading this). If you’re one who likes to see your steak without a pick of fat, then you’re in for a treat as you’ll find none on these lean cuts. You’ll also be in the position to eat a steak rare, medium and well-done all in the one sitting.
The restaurant, which can be found just off Largo de Camoes on the fringe of Lisbon’s Barrio Alto district, is an extremely unassuming place. Staff aren’t gruff by any means, but they’re certainly not smothering either. It isn’t the most touristy of places, but the proprietors are aware of their ‘USP’ (unique selling point) so the menu is in English for your convenience. And before you begin butchering your very own piece of meat, you’re treated to a large lump of goat’s cheese, but at an extra cost (even though you won’t have ordered it).
This type of dining obviously isn’t for everyone, as the thoughts of being presented with a rare piece of a cow and some sauces doesn’t sound particularly appealing. But ‘slice on the stone’ is a Portuguese speciality after all, so ‘when in Rome…’ as they say. For the meat lovers out there, trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed.