Make no doubt about it, the LX Factory is Lisbon being swept up in 21st century hipster gentrification. Walking around the converted warehouses at the foot of the sunpension bridge Ponte 25 Abril, you could be in any number of leading European capitals. Curated boutiques offer wanders beautiful stationary, artisanal clothing or handmade crafts, alongside foaming coffee art lattes and brioche bun burgers.
Yet, at it’s centre is somewhere that really does combine traditional and modern Portugal. Embracing the open space, high ceiling’d feel of contemporary restaurants, 1300 Taberna also gives a thoughtful, flavourful nod to the greats of Portuguese cuisine. Bacalhau à Brás, a classic dish of codfish mixed with potato, onion and eggs, was one of the best we’ve tried in the city (and we have tried it often and plentifully…). Likewise, the simple grilled seabass sat atop of velvety, seafoody Portuguese tomato rice was just drop dead gorgeous. Served alongside a local wine list and also leading the way in pairing the growing number of excellent Portuguese craft beers with the menu. Everyone we came across from the team was passionate, knowledgable and proud of what Taberna was doing here. And you can see why.
Our final dish of a simple mushroom pasta paled in comparison of the others, however, it was freshly made, well seasoned and very pleasant especially when first at the table and piping hot. But when you’re next to such stunning showcases of modern Portuguese cooking, it’s no surprise you can get lost in the crowd. Trying to please an undoubtedly international audience in the crowds outside perhaps has it’s compromises on the menu. Come for the seafood, wine and beer. You’ll be glad you did.
Watch the chefs at work amongst the fresh herbs and shrubs, creating a lovely, leafy inner sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle (especially on market days) of the outside streets.
The danger of places like the LX Factory, despite its graffiti walled charm, is that you could be anywhere. Luckily for them, 1300 Taberna is here to make sure it stays rooted in the city and country they so wonderfully celebrate.
Katy Hulands is a travel and lifestyle blogger and social media consultant for the hospitality sector. She started the Unwrapped Series to uncover those special places (and things) that deserve the spotlight.