Restaurant Reviews

Affordable, but Not Great Fusion Food @ Mais Do Mesmo, Cascais

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It's been a very long time since our visit at Mais Do Mesmo, Cascais, but I haven't forgotten our visit. Not because it was good - actually much the opposite.

I was so excited to try this place. It's walking distance from our house, but a ways away enough that it would make for a good walk. It had good reviews, and was offering the type of food we're typically interested in - stuffed mushrooms, tartar, pica pao, fish tacos.

Although we're not typically fans of fusion, I figured I'd give this place a go considering all it had going for it. And when we walked in, I was pleasantly surprised at how cute the place was and the overall ambience.

Adorable right? I mean I completely love this type of aesthetic.

I wish I tempered my enthusiasm however, and will probably do that more with new restaurants these days, because sadly, the food was a massive let down.

We ordered a number of things off the menu - some that we thought would be amazing if they were nice, others that we felt they couldn't really screw up. And yet nothing somehow came out right.

Here's the menu - 

We decided there was a lot on the menu we'd be interested in trying. So we skipped the couvert in the name of making more room for all the things we wanted to eat.

Sadly, I feel a bread basket and some butter and olive oil is likely to have been more tasty in our books than what we got. Yes, I do feel the food was that bad.

First up, we got the Octopus Tempura. And while it didn't look so bad, taste wise, it just wasn't happening.

Since it's been a while since we visited, I can't remember exactly what was so off about it. If I'm remembering correctly, it was a combination of - too much breading, maybe a bit on the soggy rather than crispy side, and not the freshest octopus.

Disappointing, since tempura in Portugal is often very different depending on which restaurant you go to, but prior to this, I'd never had bad tempura. And never bad octopus either! Portugal is so good for octopus! Seafood in general, and even fish is great here, but their squid and octopus is another level. Yeah, not here.

I kept hoping that the next dishes that arrived would be better.

They were not.

We got the Spinach Cream we ordered next, and while this was alright, I am 10,000% sure my husband could have made better with some frozen spinach and cream at home.

I suppose it's a simple dish, and not all that much about it can be all that special, technically. It definitely wasn't expensive. But it just wasn't checking any boxes for me.

No problem, however. It was time for the beef tartar, and that's all I was really hoping would be delicious. Because I love me a good steak tartar, or even tuna tartar. It's delicious, but my husband has warned me many times before that if you don't get it in the right place it just won't be the same.

Luckily, we have Cantinho do Avillez in the center of Cascais for me to visit in case I really want some good tartar, but I was willing to risk it here to see if maybe there was a decent second-best.

It was not good. Presentation-wise, looks can be deceiving, and this doesn't look the worst. I was excited to dig in, albeit being a little confused about the green-dyed toast. It makes sense in fusion food world, however, albeit being unappetizing (who wants to think of veggies when you're eating tasty, tasty carbs?), but ignoring that...

It just wasn't right. I definitely didn't get food poisoning, so it's not like it wasn't fresh enough to be fine to eat. But it just didn't taste as fresh as I would have liked. And I think there were massive onions in it that just didn't jive with the dish?

The toast wasn't great, the way they dressed it up wasn't taste-wise great. It just wasn't working on any count.

Okay, but that was a bit of a risk. So I somewhat get it.

The last dish we ordered (which I never expected to arrive after the beef tartar because it's more of an appetizer, but hey, I'm okay with that), was the stuffed mushrooms.

One look at these and I knew I was somehow wrong in making this order...

I just couldn't understand, however. Because all the other restaurants I've been to have had fantastic stuffed mushrooms if they offered them. Sure, they were on the smaller side, and they had far less cheese, but the cheese they did use and the mushrooms they use were high quality and delicious and this was.. well super strange.

Usually bacon bits and a little bit of herbs are sprinkled on top, so that's normal, but these flavours just did not go together. If I could even get over the type of cheese they used.. like a really cheap Flamengo cheese, which is something like "American mozzarella" cheese that's stringy and at best okay for pizzas - not my cup of tea at all and definitely not meant for stuffed mushrooms.

Serving size was massive yes, and again, not too bad in terms of pricing, but no, no, no in terms of taste.

We left home disappointed that the quality of the food wasn't better. My takeaway is that they tried to do things that were unique and different (in the name of fusion!), but were actually not that unique and different, and instead, it just felt like they replaced ingredients with cheaper versions and focused on presentation and called it a day.

None of the flavours worked together somehow, none of the food we ordered was actually interesting or traditional and tasty. It was just.. yeah we'll just not go back ever again, and will absolutely be recommending friends and family steer clear of this place if it ever comes up.

You can take the risk if you'd like. It's again - not all that expensive. But it's really not great food and absolutely not my cup of tea. Sad because I was so hopeful.