Couple from “Casados à Primeira Vista” opens a brunch cafe in Lisbon
At Mariefred, which pays homage to the duo’s daughters, the brownie is the highlight of the menu. There are options for everyone.
The story of Ruth Oliveira and Bruno Santos did not begin in the most ordinary way. The duo literally met at the altar when they participated in the third season of “Casados à Primeira Vista”, which aired, in early 2022, on SIC. As fate would have it, the union went well and, a few months after the birth of Frederica, their first child, the couple opened a brownie-centric cafe serving a range of brunches. Mariefred opened to the public on January 24.
“The idea for the project came from Bruno, who, since leaving his job at Lisbon Airport in 2011, has been dedicated to gastronomy and hospitality. Among other ventures, he also owned a few coffee shops, the last of which [que ficava na Rua Quinta do Almargem] closed in 2020, due to the pandemic. Then he started renting out an RV he owns, but it’s more of a seasonal thing. When I had the opportunity, I wanted to return to this area and decided to accompany him. The idea was developed by the two of them,” he begins by telling Ruth Oliveira, 33, at NiT.
“At least in the beginning though, he’ll be in charge of everything because I’m almost at the end of the pregnancy, which will keep me from being as present, but I’ll always be around to help out with whatever is needed.” , adds the former participant who, after several years in administrative positions, found herself working as a personal organizer.
The name of the new space pays homage to Maria, Bruno’s eight-year-old daughter, and Frederica, who was not yet born. The brownie is the highlight of the menu, with prices between 1.50 and 2.50 euros.
“Although we have some brunch dishes that really stand out, we want the ex-libris to be the brownie, which is made here every day. We have many recipes available, all developed by my husband, ranging from the classic, just chocolate, to red fruit. NUTS; M&M’s or Kinder Bueno, for example. There are options for all tastes.”
To accompany it, there is a range of hot drinks, from avatanado (€0.8) to chocolate (€2), as well as natural juices. “Every day, we have the orange version available. The second option varies. Both cost 2—.
Bruno, 39, is also responsible for the yellow toast, which is, as it were, ‘scrambled on a bed of avocado and seeds (€5). “This, together with the pancakes, with strawberry, banana and Nutella (€5.5), has been one of the most frequent orders since opening,” reveals the owner. Soup of the day, “made with fresh and natural ingredients” (€2), croquette (€1.5), chicken pie (€1.5) and açaí bowl (€4.95) are other possibilities with a short letter.
“While Bruno was in charge of the food, the decoration was my responsibility. It is a small space, with 25 square meters and space for eight people, but very comfortable. For this reason, I bet a lot on flowers, mostly natural, to give the house a more authentic look. We also have lots of crochet, lots of straws and some paintings by my mother, who is an artist. The idea is that people walk in and feel like they’ve arrived at Ruth and Bruno’s home,” he shares. At the moment, the cafe only has one table on the terrace, but this will be expanded when summer arrives.
“We believe we can succeed. Both Bruno and I have a great entrepreneurial spirit. It’s one of the things that characterize us the most and I think it was one of the reasons that brought us together [no programa]. He takes a little more risk than me, but together I think we can go far.”
Click through the gallery to take a look at Mariefred and the dishes they serve there.
see the collection
The açaí bowl (€4.95).