9 Praia de Hac Sa, Coloane, Macau
Visited 2nd December
After running 21km in the Macou half marathon I wanted a beer. Restaurante Fernando is as popular as the song and perhaps more justifiably so. Located at Hac Sa Beach on the southeast of Coloane Island it's in a pretty isolated spot, but that's half the joy. I'd called to try and make a booking, but was told they didn't do bookings on weekends and to make sure I got there early. Arriving at 11.30 we were the second group in a line that soon became a mass excess of seething punters. When the doors finally opened at midday the throng pushed forwards in a mad and chaotic rush to get tables. Elbows, knees and the odd head butt and we were finally sitting, but it was worth it. The front room is OK, but out back is where it all happens at Fernandos; there's a large open area with airy windows, views of the garden and plenty of heavy rustic timber.
A priority was my thirst and I quenched it with a couple of crisp Portuguese beers. When I asked about wine I was told to go look at a shelf somewhere; I stuck to beer. To start our table shared a delicious garden salad, a plate of tasty chouriço and olives, along with the compulsory loafs of soft, fluffy bread. I couldn't resist the salted cod I was talked out of the previous evening. The generous serve of grilled Bacalhau was presented with potatoes and a garlicky butter sauce. I was mightily impressed with the food; it was extremely well done in its authentic simplicity. Getting an itemised receipt for the prices was another difficulty, but I remember everything offering outstanding value.
I'm very much in two minds about Fernandos - it certainly gets votes for authentic Portuguese fare, yet it's almost arrogantly run with off putting service. I loved the delicious, rustic food and the awesome prices. After the riot finished the atmosphere was great and the garden bar - where the disappointed waited - looked like a winner for an afternoon session. Despite all the positives I couldn't understand queuing for half an hour just to have to brawl to get a table. Not taking bookings and not opening before noon meant that the whole restaurant ordered at exactly the same time; while we didn't have to wait too long for our food it did take nearly half an hour to initially be served. There's lots to love about Restaurante Fernando just avoid the weekend battle.Visit restaurant website.