Abi & I took advantage of the late May bank holiday weekend and squeezed in a fly-by trip to Lisbon to drink, eat and sight-see ourselves silly.
Sunning ourselves brown had been high on the agenda too, but unfortunately the weather man had different ideas in mind and so a light ‘blush’ is all we had to show for our time in the southern European city.
Touching down just after midday, we ditched our bags and made a beeline for downtown Lisbon.
Stumbling first across “Place du Rossio”, one of the main squares of Baixa and really rather beautiful lined with purple-flowered trees which appeared all over the city, and which both Abi & I were quite enamoured with.
The square has a unique wavelike paving and features a large, elaborate fountain and a tall column with a statue of Dom Pedro IV on top.
^ The 4 figures around the base represent justice, wisdom, force and balance; the values for which Dom Pedro IV was renowned.
At the end of the square you’ll also find the striking, grand Dona Maria II National Theatre.
In search of the sea (like drawing moths to a flame) we headed further south, peering into the narrow alleys and passageways flanking us on either side.
Passing the “Elevador da Santa Justa” on our way.
Built following Gustave Eifell’s style by another French engineer of his school, the 45m tall Neo-Gothic elevator is still in use and allows a quick & convenient ascension to Bairro Alto (aka ‘pub street’) providing spectacular views of the red-roofed city, the São Jorge Castle and the Tagus River beyond.
Abi & I remained with the Asian paparazzi on ground-level versus heading up as the sound of seagulls seemed to be growing ever-closer.
The end of the street opened up to “Praça do Comércio”, also known as the Palace’s Square as it’s where the royal palace stood until it was destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1755.
Considered by many (including us) to be the most beautiful square in Lisbon, it was designed to be a harmonious space beside the waterfront to pay tribute to those who died.
In the centre of the square is an imposing statue of King Jose I on horseback.
And on either side of the square are rows of restaurants, perfect for people watching & sun soaking.
We picked our favourite, i.e. the one with white tables as it was the most summery-looking, nabbed ourselves a front row seat and settled in for the next hour.
Vino verde time.
And snacks, of course.
The crispy squid was epic.
Little did we know that this was to become our ‘spot’ for the remaining days to come.
Sun-kissed and tipsy, we realised that time was slipping away from us and we needed to get our skates on if we wanted to scrub up for our hot dinner date.
But how to travel?
Traditional tram vs. (bizarrely placed) modern tuk-tuk (did anyone else know that these are a thing outside of Asia?!)
With the speediest turn-around ever, we made our dinner reservation bang on 8:30.
Even at the end of our 4-day stint I still hadn’t come around to the late night eating way of life of the southern Europeans… the restaurant was very much empty when we arrived, and only started to fill up at about 10pm… on a Wednesday!
Which only resulted in one thing… more pre-dinner drinks.
We perched ourselves at the gorgeous bar.
And ordered some gin n’ juice; G&T’s infused with fresh summer berries (€7.00 each).
The restaurant was even more beautiful than the bar, reminding me of Bob Bob Ricard with its plush leather chairs, dark woods, royal blue & gold detailing.
As we ogled the menu a bread basket and generous slab of butter arrived.
We decided to do fishy starters and meaty mains, starting with shrimps a “la Guilho” (€16.00) and an octopus salad (€12.00).
Both were generous in size, with the plump, juicy shrimps being my preference to the octopus, which I thought had a slightly strange texture (to be honest, I think I had been envisaging and craving squid!).
We were also given a traditional Portuguese croquette (€2.50) to sample, which was completely unlike any croquette I’ve had before with no cheese or potato in sight, and a pure meat filling.
Which was beef, in our case.
And really yummy, though it was quite dry consisting of just meat and breadcrumbs, and me being me I would have loved a sauce…
Polishing off the dregs of our fruity fishbowls, we moved on to a recommended bottle of red, ‘Post Scriptum’ (€33.00), to accompany our steaks.
And then there was the meat.
OMG. The meat.
Bife K.O.B. steak (300g) (€22.00) and New York style Black Angus 30-day-aged steak (300g) (€40.00) arrived thinly sliced on a wooden platter.
I got the meat sweats just looking at it.
The meat was unreal… UNREAL. Both cuts were special, but the Black Angus steak completely blew my mind.
Marbled with fat it was exceptionally tender, juicy and flavoursome.
Pair that with mashed potatoes infused with black truffle (€8.50) and Asian sautéed broccoli (€6.00), and you’ve got one ecstatic me.
The truffle mash was truffle overload in the best possible way, though the consistency of the mash was a little gluey.
The sautéed Asian broccoli was beaut & crunchy, and I liked the heat from the red chilies.
Overall, one of the best and most luxurious main courses I’ve eaten in a while!
^ My dates hotter than yours.
For pud, we got our espresso martinis on (€12.00 each), and shared the caramel Petit Gateaux with lemon sorbet (€8.00) and malteser cheesecake (€8.00).
I’m not the biggest cheesecake fan (being one for texture and therefore always disappointed with anything less than a 50:50 biscuit ratio), but K.O.B’s serving impressed me.
There was plenty of chocolately, biscuity crunch in the base, as well as crispy chocolate balls on top. Woopeeeee!
But truly outstanding was the caramel Petit Gateaux with lemon sorbet.
I don’t know why this hasn’t entered my life/mouth before; essentially a fancily named caramel fondant!!!
Just look at that ooze… Oh my days.
It was delicious and rich, but not as sickly as its chocolate counterpart. Absolutely winning!
K.O.B really blew both Abi & I away; the restaurant was stunning and the food seriously impressive. The only thing that majorly let it down was the fact that we were sandwiched between two chain-smoking couples.
Unfortunately Portugal has no laws against smoking inside so it’s up to the individual restaurant whether they choose to ban it or not, and I would STRONGLY urge the Olivier Avenida Group to either put a stop to their diners smoking entirely, or at least segregate their restaurants into smoking and non-smoking sections, as having to endure the cloak of smoke was pretty vile.
Still, it didn’t ruin our experience or retract from the quality of the food in any way, it just dampened it slightly.
I would highly recommend K.O.B it if you’re looking for a meat fix in Lisbon! (And suggest giving them a heads up if you’re anti-smoking too).
I dined as a guest of K.O.B, but all opinions are my own.