This marks the last of my Lisbon blog posts, but it doesn’t mean it’s of any less importance. I’ve heard about this restaurant quite a few times before but for a variety of reasons, never got a chance to visit. This time there was such an opportunity, a nice family lunch, to eat good food, excellent wine and even better conversations.
What makes Darwin’s Cafe so special? There is, of course, the food, the quality and variety of the wine menu but also the fact that this restaurant is named after the English naturalist scientist Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin is better known for his theory on the evolution of the species and the choice of name isn’t anywhere near dictated by chance. You see, this restaurant is integrated on a much larger complex, that is dedicated to the research and advancement of Science, the Champalimaud Foundation.
You may be wondering what do all of the above have in common? For those who are not aware, Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese poet, one of the main literary figures from the 20th century and one of the most important poets in the Portuguese language, quiçá one of the best in the world… He was born in 1888 and became well known for publishing work under what he called heteronyms, which reflected entirely different personalities and styles. One of my favourite poems of his is The Tobacco Shop and this poem is where I took a quote I have on my leg from, have a read if you have a bit of time.
A few weeks ago I travelled home to Portugal for a long weekend, what was packed with hanging out with family, friends, good food wine and fun times! It’s been over a year since I was last in Lisbon and at the time, the weather wasn’t as warm nor sunny. In fact, it rained the whole time, which was funny as it rained a lot more than it did in the UK at the time.
To be honest I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to because I was either hanging out with friends or hiding away from the heat, that was a bit too much at some points. Also, I tried to take it easy and not worry too much about blogging… with some degree of failure as I did get to do some pics and jotted down a list of things I noticed and some of them may be a little bit controversial, but I call it like I see it.
As you know and seen before, I like showing quality items that are currently being made and designed in Portugal. Well, this last visit I had a very pleasant surprise: Shoes Closet! I didn’t know the brand and wasn’t at all aware of its existence but was drawn in very quickly when I accidentally wandered in to their concept store at Embaixada (a sort of mini luxe shopping mall with new brands and designers in the Principe Real area).
I was attracted by the shoes and then by how nice everyone was. I spoke to the sales manager Gisele and she showed me the collections and explained the inspiration behind them. I was even shown a sneak peek of some boots that weren’t yet on the shelves. I was given permission to take photos and rearrange the shelves if necessary. They were all so nice and the shoes so amazing I decided I would do a blog post just dedicated to the brand. That’s what you get for being so nice!!! (unlike other people but that’s another story).
The brand not only prides itself on the craftsmanship that’s a staple of Portuguese shoe making but also on our cultural and historical roots, using traditional fabrics and patterns in some of the collections. The fabric you see is called chita, a word rooted in the sanskrit chintz, as it was brought back from India in the 17th Century to Portugal, where a local version started being produced.
Buying a pair of shoes here is buying something unique and very Portuguese. You can’t buy them on the internet just yet but according to the website, that option will be available very soon.
LX Factory is an old warehouse compound in the Santos area of Lisbon, that has been transformed into one of the hippest places to be. By the time I moved to England it was already there but not as developed as it is today. For that reason I went and spent an afternoon there with Catarina of From Someone In Love. (click on the link for some more fab photos of the place). We had a great time and I really enjoyed meeting Catarina and her hubby in person.
LX Factory has everything: nice boutiques with cool clothes, cafes with delicious desserts, bookshops with miles and miles of books and antique shops with all sorts of old Portuguese memorabilia… At night you have not only restaurants available but also bars and other venues with concerts or the theatre. Just walking around is fun, as there is loads of street art and murals to look at (I’ll be sharing the street art in a separate post). To me, this is one of the best places in Lisbon at the moment. Don’t miss out, if you are looking for things to do in Lisbon.
PS: the massive poodles were spotted for Vix. Unfortunately they were too big and expensive, but I thought of you!
PS2: I don’t know what’s going on with the kinky rabbit… I just thought I had so share it, it’s so bizarre!