I AM sure you will have visited The Skewer House in Taunton before, but there is a new place to try – one that is now run by Diogo’s sister, Sofia Nobgrega-Rodrigues.

Nobregas was Sofia and Diogo’s grandmothers name, who was the one person who taught them all how to cook.

Helping her mum with her restaurant in Essex, has led to Sofia’s passion for cooking.

She loves it and this is clear to see when I am chatting away to her in her new restaurant.

After Diogo and Nathan Nobrega decided that Taunton needed more Madeiran food, they decided to find another building they could take over, but this time, leave in the capable hands of Sofia who creates delicious Paella and tapas dishes.

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She said: “When this place was available and Nathan and Diogo told me, I jumped at the opportunity. We are so passionate about cooking.

“Our paella is a recipe that our family loves to cook and it is perfect for sharing. It is very homely and perfect for sharing.

“I like the fact that with tapas we can have lots of different dishes when we eat, with different flavours and textures and colours – to me, that is a fun sharing meal rather than sitting down with a plate of dinner.

“Opening a tapas bar was always very much a dream for me.”

Realising that The Skewer House was an entire entity of its own, Nathan and Diogo didn’t want to replicate what they had already created.

At Nobregas Sofia shows off some more Madeiran delights.

Sofia added: “We want to transport you to a little restaurant in an alleyway in Spain and don’t want you to feel like you’re in a chain.

“Everyone loves the skewer house because they feel like they’re on holiday and that is exactly the feel we wanted to bring here.”

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Sofia admitted that she is still trialling the menu. They all have so many ideas and can’t quite decide what to include, so Nobregas have specials on each night as well as the menu, so they can trial dishes to see what Taunton does and doesn’t like.

She explained: “We didn’t want to bombard people with too many ideas and we didn’t know what would work and what wouldn’t work.

“There’s a few things that were suggestions from social media too, like the Spanish tortilla.

“My favourite dish is the chicken Madeira, and everyone is talking about it - even my brother wants the recipe and I won’t give it to him!

“Chicken Madeira is chicken thighs with a sauce made from Madeira wine and cream.

“A guideline is four tapas dishes for one person, but things come out steadily, they don’t all come out at the same time.

“The cold things will come out first, then the bread and then the hot dishes that I am cooking.

“All these lovely flavours and textures will slowly arrive and that’s exciting to me, you share it with your friends and its quite lovely.

“Some people will try three things and then ask for something else – sometimes a braver option like the Lapas (limpits). These come off a rock in Madeira and they are very popular.

“They are a shellfish but they texture is different to mussels - to me, that is a brave choice. It is so nice when people order something they wouldn’t usually, and they completely fall in love with it.”

Nobregas are also offering traditional Portuguese desserts too including Pasteis de Nata, molatov and crème caramel.

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These desserts change regularly, dependant on what Sofia feels like making and what seasonal ingredients are available.

She added: “Sometimes with Portuguese desserts they don’t look very pretty but they taste really good.”

Drinks are also Portuguese themed, with Sofia offering both Sangria and Poncha, which is a Portuguese cocktail made traditionally with alcohol, lemons and honey.

In 2019, Poncha has a variety of variations in Madeira – passionfruit, strawberry and so on – so Sofia has added these variations to Nobregas as well.

Since the opening, just seven weeks ago, Nobregas has been consistently busy, but Sofia is loving the challenge – and loving the move to Taunton.

“My 5 and 6-year-old children love it here” Sofia said.

“I think Taunton is a much better place to bring up children, we go out on walks and do loads of outdoor activities now which we never used to in Essex.

“My son puts Weetabix in a bowl and says ‘mummy, I’m a chef’.

“My other boy keeps asking if he can work here – he just wants to be a part of it which is lovely.

“I haven’t had time to think since we started but I am so excited and so happy to see its going well.

“I do get excited about food, so I am excited to see what other flavours I can bring out and other dishes I can make.

“This menu comes from our heart and our home. That’s what makes it special and what I hope will make people want to come back.”

To find out more visit nobregas.co.uk