Casa do Benfica is the restaurant at the Portuguese Club in Marrickville where you'll find a menu full of delicious, great value Portuguese food and a comfortable, unpretentious atmosphere! It's like a slice of Little Portugal in the heart of Sydney's inner west.
Sydney suburb Marrickville has two Portuguese clubs attached to tennis courts. We didn't realise this and by some miracle a year ago Queen Viv, Miss America, Mr NQN and I managed to meet at the correct one. One restaurant is called Tasca and is on Marrickville Road and this one is called Casa do Benfica located on Centennial Street. Benfica is named after the Portuguese soccer club based in Lisbon. Tonight I'm meeting Monica, Marco, James and Ben (Mr NQN is working).
We arrive at 6:30pm and walk past the tennis courts that are all full of people playing. The Portuguese club is large and making a booking definitely helps as it gets busy. Monica had made a booking however someone else has taken our table so the man behind the counter points us to a free table. Come 7:30pm as everyone finishes up playing tennis they'll want a table. "I've never seen it this busy before," says Monica looking around. There used to be live music on Friday nights but the dancefloor is now covered in tables - perhaps this has changed after COVID.
I had read that the only thing you'll need here is a bit of patience as service and food can tend to be slow although this evening it is perfectly fine (we did slide our order in before the tennis crowd converged). There is one man taking orders and showing people to their tables and one waitress ferrying large plates of food to the table. You buy drinks from the bar and there are two chefs in the kitchen dealing with the huge pile of dockets.
Start the evening with favaito, a glass of Muscat wine from Douro with a sweet, smooth sip followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste. It comes in a small bottles and they serve it here in a champagne coupe with a twist of lemon.
Ameijoas (vongole clams) $23
A basket of bread and a cup of olives hits the table and the bread will continue to be replenished during the evening as it is used to mop up the amazing sauces. Speaking of sauces, the clams are cooked in a lemon and mustard sauce. It's a very, very generous serve with perfectly cooked vongole and a buttery lemon and mustard sauce.
Chourico Assado (grilled Portuguese chorizo) $18
This chourico is a big dish of sliced, pan-fried chourico served with pickled vegetables. Fish out a pippie and eat it with chorizo for the best mouthful of surf and turf.
Cogumelos com Alho (garlic mushrooms) $22
The garlic mushrooms are an absolute must order and everyone loves these. They're served whole and marinated in garlic and served in a wonderful creamy sauce. Out of Tasca and Casa do Benfica, I prefer the mushrooms here.
Arroz de Marisco (Seafood Rice) $38
It's time for our mains and although there were 5 of us we ordered 4 entrees and 3 mains just because the serving sizes are so large. The seafood rice is replete with seafood with crab, prawns and pippies. There's so much seafood at a very reasonable price.
Galinha a Alentejana $28
One of my favourite dishes from my time in Portugal was pork Alentejana. Here they have it as a chalkboard special but with chicken instead. It's basically boneless pieces of chicken with clams and square potato fries. It's cooked in a clay pot with this wonderful garlic, coriander and white wine sauce that has such a lovely depth of flavour that you just have to grab yet another slice of bread and drag it through the sauce.
Espetada de Carne (beef skewer, chips and salad) $35
The must order (along with the garlic mushrooms) is the Espetada or beef skewer that comes on a tall "sword". It's around half a dozen big medallions of beef seasoned with garlic and salt and then grilled. Espetada originally comes from the island of Madeira. It comes with round or square chips (we always specify round chips) and a salad. My beef piece wasn't very tender but I think that was bad luck as everyone else's was. I do love the hand cut round chips, that are like a lucky dip whether you get a thin, crispy one or a softer one with more potato.
Pudim de Caramelo (creme caramel flan) $8
There are five desserts available and Monica gets up to order a selection of them. The crème caramel is on the firmer side of crème caramels.
Mouse de Chocolate (chocolate mousse) $8
The chocolate mousse is like a classic egg white mousse and is very rich and dark.
The molotoff is a meringue dessert and my favourite of the trio. It's wonderfully light and served with a lovely caramel with a hit of citrus in it. And just as sweet is the bill which is a very reasonable $46 per person (drinks were separate).
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite community club? Which dish did you like the look of?
This meal was independently paid for.
Casa do Benfica
Marrickville District Hardcourts Tennis Club
Henson Park, 33 Centennial St, Marrickville NSW 2204
Wednesday to Friday 12–3pm, 6–9:30pm
Saturday 12–3pm, 6–10pm
Monday & Tuesday closed
Phone: (02) 9569 1966