Starter: An unlikely find, but serendipitous nonetheless, spotted on a Sunday stroll in downtown Lisbon. Landeau, with its low-arching brick ceilings, is more monastic than your average chain and the tasteful lighting and décor transform the potential gloom of the side-street premises, revealing a central table area dotted with dim beams from overhead lamps, matched by the soft fuzz of reading and wall lighting. Stacks of books line the main table, as if dropped nonchalantly by former customers, with an eclectic range of titles, from Pessoa’s “Lisboa” to Antonio Tabucchi’s “Requiem”. Think Parisian boutique chic meets Scandi style.
Main: The icing on the cake? Actually, there isn’t any (Landeau does better!) The topping of choice is a cocoa powder dusting, coating (uncloyingly, oh-so-uncloyingly) a thick layer of bittersweet chocolate buttercream over a densely packed chocolate sponge. This is pressed-powder perfection!
Dessert: A particular source of amusement was the Portuguese rendition of Jamie’s “Return of the Naked Chef” (“Regressa à Cozinha”), subtly positioned on the far wall behind rows of sugar bowls filled with rectangular sachets (this has to sum up this quirky place!). Prepare to want to stay put for half-hours-on-end as you begin to exude the calm energy of the peppy tracks playing from the low-key speaker in the corner.
Located on Rua des Flores, and home to what has been repeatedly labelled the best chocolate cake in the world, Landeau Chocolate offers only tea, coffee, port and cake. It is testament to the quality that they have survived with this limited range. A trip to Lisbon simply won’t be complete without a visit (or two) to this little slice of heaven, and rest assured you’ll be dreaming about that slice of cake for many evenings to come…