What is a Portuguese petisco and why should you eat it for lunch?

Updated: Mar 12, 2019

We’ve all heard of Spanish tapas, but Portuguese petiscos? Not so much. We decided it was time we told the people of Norwich why petiscos are the foundation of our lunch menu...

When it comes to food in Portugal, sharing is caring. We like our meals to be relaxed and communal - an ethos that drives our approach to food here at Jorge’s. One question we’re often asked about Portuguese food is “aren’t Portuguese Petiscos just like Spanish tapas?” And our answer is, kind of… but not quite. Let us explain.


The Spanish word ‘tapas’ has become a part of our foodie language here in the UK. Tapas has evolved much from its original conception in Spain as small bites and snacks to accompany a beer - before moving onto another bar to do the same thing over again - to now mean pretty much anything that comes served on a small plate!


The first thing you’ll notice about the petiscos at Jorge’s Restaurant in Norwich is that they are larger in size than a traditional tapas dish. However, they are still made to be shared. We would normally order five or six petiscos for a table of four, as opposed to the eight to 10 dishes we would probably order if we were eating tapas.


Petiscos are traditionally found in tascas, which are small taverns or cafes in Portugal. Each petisco is best shared and is cooked in a way to showcase the true flavour of its star ingredient - whether that’s chargrilled black pork, marinated octopus or corn-fed piri piri chicken. By far the best bit about petiscos is that you get to taste everything on the table - not just one dish.


The cold petiscos on our lunch menu are dishes that we feel represent Mediterranean food while showcasing dishes that you wouldn’t typically find in the uk - like cured tuna muxama and Pata Negra, thought to be the best jamón in the world. The black pigs this jamón ibérico comes from are fed on a diet of acorns, wild grass and herbs and much of this flavour finds its way into the meat. The hams are cured for up to three years before its ready to be sold as this legendary delicacy.


If you are dining alone, or sharing food just isn’t your thing, then one petisco such as the tiger prawns al ajillo or chicken piripiri is more than enough for one when ordered with a side of french fries or chargrilled vegetables.


Authentic Portuguese Piri Piri Chicken

But wait! That’s not all...

Every month at Jorge’s there is a special set lunch to try - a starter, main and a drink. The main dish will be inspired by a different region of Portugal each week. Starting 14 January the francesinha from Porto will be our star dish. Think layers of bread, Iberian black pork, chorizo, ham and cheese all drenched in a delicious francesinha sauce.


All this talk of petiscos and francesinha got you salivating? Book your next lunch here: https://www.jorgesrestaurant.co.uk/jorges-restaurant-book-table





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