This week, Life at the End of a Fork is coming to you from The Algarve, Portugal. With London no longer able to contain our culinary explorations, we have struck out across the ocean (leapt on a Ryanair flight) and arrived on the southernmost tip of Portugal.
Now, there is a certain sort of diabolical coastal restaurant that springs up in towns catering to large volumes of tourists. They tend to have enormous boards outside with faded photographs of stale looking burgers, or rubbery eggs that a dog could use as a chew-toy, whilst swarthy looking waiters strut along the pavement trying to coax passersby to part with their money.
Within, they serve food that makes you feel as if the chef has hated you his entire life, and has been waiting until this very moment to seek vengeance for something you have long forgotten. It is the sort of food you feel ill watching someone else eat, that a Little Chef on the side of the M6 would be ashamed to serve.
During our holiday to Cyprus, last year, we naively blundered into many such places, and by the end of the trip we swore that should we venture down to Southern Europe again, we would come well-researched. And so here we are.
Over the course of the next week, we will be dining in some of the finest restaurants that The Algarve has to offer. But all these are ahead of us.
Last night we made do with the Hilton Hotel’s poolside grill restaurant, which served reasonable food, and offered great views, if you enjoy watching fat people fall off sun-loungers.
I ordered a salad with halloumi to start things off, which was passable, although the enormous slabs of halloumi were slightly burnt. My partner in culinary crime ordered a salmon and shrimp tartare. As far as I understand it, ‘tartare’ typically indicates raw food, so we both a little perplexed when the salmon and the shrimp arrived thoroughly cooked.
My grilled lamb was tasty and tender, whilst my partner’s steak was well-done on the outside and literally raw on the inside. Perhaps they got their tartares the wrong the way round…
On to bigger and better things!