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Friday, December 17, 2004

Costa Do Sol, Petersham

Affectionately known as Sydney's Little Portugal, the Petersham strip of New Canterbury Road is bustling with restaurants, cafes, delis and butchers. As we approach we cannot help but be enveloped by the heady intoxifying aromas of roasting charcoal chickens, split down the middle Portuguese-style and roasted flat, basted with plenty of piri piri.

We walk past the charcoal chicken temples, manouvering around the clunky pot plants (recently installed by the council as part of a footpath revamp) as heavy traffic thunders past us. I gaze wistfully at the drawn curtains of Sweet Belem, home of what I consider the best Portuguese custards tarts in Sydney--but it is after dark, the shop is closed for the day, the tarts have long been eaten... Past the old rollerskating rink--still abandoned and forlorn--until we find ourselves at the buzzy yet cosy Costa Do Sol on the corner.

Camarao com alho e piri piri $12.00
Garlic prawns in hot chilli sauce

Bife a Portuguesa $18.00
Pan-fried marinated lean beef steak served with golden fried potato slices, lean ham and egg

Bitoque $16.00
Pan-fried marinated thin beef steak served with French fries, egg and salad $16.00

Polvinhos na grelha $18.00
Char-grilled baby octopus served with garden vegetables

This was my second time to Costa Do Sol and on this occasion I went for the simplicity of the baby octopus. I was pleasantly surprised by the tenderness of the octopus, even though my main did arrive 5 minutes after everyone else's. We were a little disappointed with the garlic prawns though, which weren't as garlicky or tasty as we would have liked.

The Portuguese steak never fails to boggle me with its overload of pure protein and Atkins-nightmare carbs. This is food with a capital F, not a whimsical journey of flavoursome frou-frou, I hear its fans roaring. Still, I can't even begin to contemplate wading through a terracotta dish of steak, ham, fried egg, fried potato slices and olives sitting on a lake of dark brown gravy.

The bitoque is probably a little more manageable for the protein/carb moderate and the chips were golden brown and crunchy. There is also a whole range of seafood options including jewfish, snapper, salmon and of course bacalhau.

Service does seem to be remiss at times although the place does seem to be filled with locals--maybe Little Portugal is so authentic we're forced to step back into Portuguese-style time. We've never been tempted much by the desserts (which is really saying something for this sweet tooth), mainly because of their depressing-looking state in the display cabinet at the front counter.

However Costa Do Sol is all about simplicity. Chunky, hearty and generously portioned, this is paradise for the ravenous without ceremony.

Costa Do Sol
77 New Canterbury Road, Petersham
Tel: 02 9569 2319
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posted by Anonymous on 12/17/2004 11:59:00 pm


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