A rush to find a good restaurant close to the hotel where we were staying and open at 3pm, luckily ended up at Ofício. An atypical “tasca” or tavern, as they like to characterize themselves, but which has nothing to do with a tasca, neither in the food nor in the atmosphere or service.

In 2021, the space was completely renovated, maintaining the vaults that characterize the Chiado so much – in fact, it is an excellent tribute to the history written there, whether or not they were installed in an old and historic Convent. It gained new shapes, colors, graphics, and a new menu, now signed by Hugo Candeias.

Just look at Ofício’s social networks to realize that it reflects well a new gastronomic generation, from cooks, to businessmen and, of course, to customers that it intends to attract and treat as faithful, like any good Portuguese tasco.

Hugo Candeias does not appear by chance; he was also leading the fine dining project The Art Gate – now closed – coming from a busy Barcelona where he had worked alongside Albert Adrià in his Mexican restaurants. An evident experience that we can see in the construction of this Office’s menu, the colors, the techniques, the elements… always with a vibrant side, where good products are worked with precision but without anything intending to be taken too seriously, nothing, except the flavor!A long table to bring back the memory of typical a tasca tables

In a late reservation intended to be quick, we shared a series of snacks without going into the more complex menu elements. We started with good natural oysters from Neptun Pearl from Setúbal and a sparkling Blanc de Noirs from Ribeiro Santo.

Neptun Pearl Oysters

 Coastal Mussels in Escabeche
At the first bite, we know we are in the right place, faultless mussels, well cleaned, treated to the point, and with a light and delicate marinade well refreshed by lemon zest. Delicious with Isco’s great mother dough bread. All that was missing was a few Bonilla à la Vista chips to transport me close to the nirvana of our Spanish brothers.

Beef tartar, marrow, and brioche toasted with olive oil
I have been watching this tartar since its first appearance on social media! Roughly cut with a knife, letting the veins of fat in the meat show through, without excessive seasoning, where the mustard seed pickle stands out, and of course, the marrow, which brings it unctuousness and a depth of flavor challenging to match. Certainly one of the best examples in the capital. Also, a positive note for the toasted brioche, although the excess of green oil masked some of its flavors.

“Atypical Portuguese” gizzards
The typical stewed gizzards that characterize us so much gain the refined touch of haute cuisine here. Exemplary point of cooking, and two different sauces combine to give richness and flavor to the offal. A good contrast was provided by the lime zest, which in the right measure, refreshed and elevated the whole set.

Stewed meat, brioche bread
In a self-respecting tavern, you have to put your cutlery aside and get your hands dirty, which is why this sandwich is so well represented by the gluttony of tascas – juicy, crumbling meat, sauce and fresh, crunchy lettuce. Rich, unctuous, and with a je ne sais quoi of refined junk, which is always what you want.Cheesecake
Finally, a Basque cheesecake, or as they call it here – cheesecake by chef Hugo Candeias – a version of the classic pie immortalized by La Viña and whose fashion and madness spread throughout Spain. One of those avid consumers of cheese pie is myself, and with a good dose of ingested calories, I can say that it rivals the best in the neighboring country. In Madrid or Barcelona, Ofício would have to queue at the door just so they could buy this pie.

With this in mind, the chef and the Paradigma Group (restaurant owners) are preparing to open Dona by Hugo Candeias, a space dedicated to this piece of heaven.

By mid-afternoon, we were already alone in the space and entitled to service with an explanation from the chef included, so there is nothing to point out if not the fluidity and relaxation of times and service (especially when we are accompanied by a tiny baby). In the wine list, I felt that there was room for a better match with the space, with fewer classic proposals, but that did not necessarily have to fall exclusively into the natural trend; that said, today, I see that these changes have taken place and that the menu is now much more enjoyable.

Final remarks
I quickly understand who has made Ofício a second home and that their customers, foodies or not, do not stop recommending it. Well-designed space, good music, differentiated dishes in product and technique with fair prices (a rarity in cosmopolitan Portugal). The dynamics of taverns, snacks, and doing it in a modern way without neglecting comfort and respecting the recipes is a difficult balance to achieve and for which this Office is more than to be congratulated.

Now we just have to go back to try more substantial dishes that I’ve been eyeing for months on the oven rice and the ray with herbs sauce, that and one more excuse to bring another whole cheese tart to Porto.

Prices from 30€ – (without wines)
Rua Nova da Trindade, 11k – 1200-301 Lisboa
+351 910 456 440

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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