Review & recipe
Fabrica Do Prego is Cape Town’s coolest prego joint
We’re on a roll with the recently transformed Fabrica Do Prego, which offers what is arguably the most delicious prego in the Mother City
Formerly known as Chippies, this family-run business recently underwent a facelift – all bold graphics and Bordallo Pinheiro pieces – to become Fabrica do Prego.
Fabrica do Prego was founded in the late 1970s by Manuel Do Rego and Armando Teles, and current owner Orlanda Simal saw the potential of the unique concept and joined forces with the founders.
As a result, the first Chippies Prego opened its doors in Rondebosch in 1996. After the original founders parted ways recently, it was decided to give the brand a new look while retaining their core ethos: good, wholesome, family-style food inspired by the unique flavours of Portugal.
Translated as Prego Factory, Fabrica do Prego was born after Orlanda brought her son, and now marketing manager, Marco on board. Together they redesigned the packaging of Chippies’ famous prego, piri piri and barbecue sauces. In a collaborative effort, Marco worked with Francois Rey of Monday Design to develop what are now Fabrica’s instantly recognisable receptacles, and Parsons Branding handled the illustration design and logo of a young woman eating a prego roll.
While the Sea Point branch of Fabrica might only seat around eight diners, what it lacks in space, it makes up for in style. Designed by Wesley Shankland at MOKO Architects and Marco himself, Fabrica’s interiors are all neutral geometry and blonde pine brightened up with the occasional Bordallo Pinheiro piece (a brand as iconically Portuguese as prego itself) and Fabrica’s distinctive blue and white sandwich wrappers.
Still offering the same popular prego that fans of the original Chippies know and love, Fabrica has developed a smaller, healthier menu that includes frango (chicken), bife (steak) as well as a mushroom prego for vegans and vegetarians and the seared tuna prego for those following a pescatarian diet.
Authentic Portuguese dishes such as the battered green beans are an alternative to Fabrica’s hand-cut potato chips, and a vegan-friendly aioli was added to the existing trio of sauces.
For the sweet-toothed, flaky pasteis de nata are best enjoyed with a cup of Fabrica’s own Liberdade blend, specially developed for the eatery by Deluxe coffee roasters.
At its heart, Fabrica do Prego is essentially offering a fresh take on the flavour that customers have grown to love over the past 23 years.
With their vaunted prego sauce still spoken about in revered tones, it’s not difficult to understand why diners keep coming back for more.
When asked for a confessional about what makes the sauce so delicious, Marco says: “It’s simple – sliced garlic, chillies, oil, salt and our secret mix of spices (there may be paprika in it), although unfortunately I cannot share the latter with you."
FABRICA DO PREGO-STYLE CHICKEN SANDWICH
4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 small chillies, finely chopped
125ml olive oil
Salt, to taste
8 chicken breast fillets, flattened
Fabrica do Prego piri-piri sauce, to serve
1. Zest and juice the lemon and combine with the rest of the ingredients other than the chicken and the piri-piri sauce.
2. Season the marinade with salt to taste and pour over the flattened chicken breasts.
3. Brush the marinade all over the chicken breasts and cover the dish with foil. Leave for a minimum of eight hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
4. If grilling the chicken breasts over coals, a kettle braai works best to achieve a smoky flavour. Using indirect heat, place the chicken in the middle of the grid and replace the lid of the kettle braai. Cook for three to four minutes per side, basting often with the remaining marinade.
5. When cooked through, serve the grilled chicken breasts atop a halved Portuguese roll with slices of tomato and lashings of Fabrica do Prego’s piri piri sauce.