Fado will be sung. There’ll be no need for silence, because what people want is to vent and to have fun. Portugal is served up on a plate, by employees dressed as Ribatejo cattle herders, and Portuguese mementos can be seen every corner, as if the whole of Portugal has been condensed in this space. Nuno Pestana was born in Mozambique to Portuguese parents. After a few years in Portugal, where he graduated in Law, he returned to his home country from where the call of his true vocation was louder. He dropped his legal tomes and instead opened the Taverna in Maputo, a snack bar at the time. Ten years have passed since then.
Nursing it like a child, the project grew, with a lot of dedication, which meant not having a day or weekends off and sacrificing many hours that should have been devoted to his daughters. The initial capacity of 80 seats was increased slowly, so as to not forego quality. This quality means getting most of the raw material from the source, because only then can genuine flavours be enjoyed.
But the quality of the ingredients would be worth nothing if the dishes were not well made. Brandishing the baton in the kitchen, his Portuguese wife Rute Pestana knows the recipes from her homeland like no one else. She is the mentor of this project, responsible for the kitchen and the menus. Nuno affectionately describes Ruth as his neck, without which he cannot turn his own head.
Some 98 dishes make it from the kitchen to the table: Shellfish Rice, Grouper Rice or Pasta with Prawns, Wine and Garlic Marinated Ribs in Rice, ‘Cabidela’ Chicken (stewed in its own blood), Fried Turbot with Turnip Greens Rice, various cod, steak or shellfish dishes and a huge et cetera full of flavours. To sweeten the palate there are Coconut Blancmange, Hot Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Fondant, among other delicacies. To wash all this down there are 2000 different wines, from all over the world (the largest wine cellar in Southern Africa), and there are also rare Port wines and other drinks, coming to a total of 800 spirits. With six premises open in Mozambique (the Taverna is joined by an Italian restaurant and four cake shops), this family group is proof that investing in passion, working hard and having patience is the path to success.