Featured image: Fettuccine puttanesca
Founded in 2017, Common Table established itself as a popular spot for daytime dining. The perfect combination of high-quality coffee and plenty of breakfast options have done the trick. And now, Common Table in Taipa is open every day and for dinner as well. Since last December, they have begun adjusting their menu bringing in new recipes. We went to check them out and see if the Common Table’s dinner menu is as satisfying as their breakfast and lunch.
What is Common Table?
If you have never visited Common Table before, let us give you a short virtual tour. In a few words, it is a casual cafe with the quality standards of a top-class restaurant. One of their strengths is that the kitchen team makes so many ingredients in-house, from pasta to sweet sauces.
Two long wooden tables with benches in the middle of the room embody the concept of sharing a table and enjoying a meal in a good company. Smaller tables are scattered around for those who prefer more intimacy and the concrete walls are decorated with a large ensemble of branches and flowers.
In the daytime, you can always find big groups of friends gathering for brunch or colleagues discussing business matters. After sunset, candles and jazzy music turn Common Table into a romantic and cozy dinner restaurant. Friendly and knowledgeable waitresses are happy to talk about the menu and give recommendations for wine. The wine list features some biodynamic, natural types. If you are up for a meal with several courses, we recommend starting it with an aperitif such as a citrusy Moscow mule or summery Aperol spritz.
Following Common Table’s advice, we chose a vegetable dish to start the dinner with. The beauty of a proper vegan dish is that it’s full of vitamins and minerals, appealing and delicious. Common Table’s cauliflower steak sprinkled over with offerings from Mighty Greens, a local Macau producer of tiny herbs, and accompanied by organic quinoa is an excellent example of such a dish. To make the “steak,” chef cuts the cauliflower head in half and roasts it to the point when it is cooked, but still a bit crunchy. This way, most of the veggie’s nutrients remain. Low in calories and high in fiber, cauliflower boasts a long list of health benefits. Organic mixed quinoa salad with tomato, red onion, and cucumber adds a fresh bouquet of amino acids, plant-based protein, and vitamins. Most importantly, the flavors are all there.
After a simple veggie ensemble came the refined hors d’oeuvre. Classic snails, aka escargot, are a sophisticated starter for sophisticated foodies. Intimidating for some, snails are a delightful opening for dinner night that goes exceptionally well with a fresh white wine such as chardonnay. Our snails were served in an iron skillet in a classic buttery sauce with herbs and garlic, nestled in mashed potatoes. The sauce does not overpower the delicate snail while and the texture is on point, not chewy at all while the creamy and heartwarming mash was a wonderful addition. To bring more flavors with a rustic touch, the chef adds some mushrooms which gave the potatoes some texture.
(Featured image above)
One of those pasta dishes that, with a few humble ingredients, becomes a celebration of bold flavors is fettuccine puttanesca, the name that raises eyebrows and makes you wonder what’s in it (both name and recipe). The basic recipe requires only anchovies, capers, olives, garlic, chili peppers, tomatoes, and some spices. If you cook at home, it can be the cheapest and quickest treat, yet mouthwatering and satisfying. Elevate it with some high-quality ingredients, and it becomes the star of your dinner–that’s Common Table’s fettuccine. The chef adds Portuguese sardines in the sauce, making it thicker and richer while tomatoes contribute some sweetness, and chili adds a bit of spiciness. Notably, the fettuccine is home-made with egg yolk and Italian flour and made perfectly al dente–Neapolitans would approve.
T-bone lamb steak
Unless you are a vegetarian, steak is an ultimate indulgent choice as a main for dinner. If you are a vegetarian though, the abovementioned cauliflower steak is worth a try.
Try going for lamb instead of beef to get that extra tenderness and higher nutrition value. T-bone lamb at Common Table is a loin chop served with a baked potato with sour cream and bits of bacon and fresh garden salad on the side. Cooked medium, as per the chef’s recommendation, the juicy steak comes with a strawberry sauce. It’s unusual company, but a faultless way to balance that natural fattiness of red meat with a bit of acidity. The rosemary topping the lamb gave the whole dish such a tempting woody aroma. There are many things on one plate, but everything comes together in perfect harmony.
Sticky toffee pudding might sound like a heavy dessert, especially after such a substantial dinner. However, Common Table makes it right by creating all the elements in-house. Served with vanilla ice cream, the dessert is light and moist inside and red dates add the right level of sweetness. The artfully drizzled caramel on top brings a warm, buttery flavor, yet not too much sweetness. Finishing the last bites, we were already dreaming about coming back to have another one–sooner rather than later!