Having travelled to many parts of the world and enjoying the privilege of dining in many acclaimed restaurants, one experience transcends all others.
Back in 2017 I booked an Easter family holiday on the Algarve, Portugal. From habit I searched for locally accessible Michelin Star restaurants, satisfyingly I found one in the resort next to ours, with two.
We often take family holidays, any excuse we can to celebrate something, or nothing.
This always includes restaurants, making our son, his partner, and our daughter, all ‘veteran’ restaurant-goers with critical eyes and palates.
We had tables on separate evenings because of the maximum 4 person table policy, so the offspring had the first booking.
Over breakfast next morning they were all eulogising, almost in wonderment, at their evening dining experience. The food! The room! The staff! The view! All very unusual.
Our table was booked that evening and, oh my goodness! Entering the restaurant was a step into an ethereal underwater world.
Elegant people seated at widely spaced tables that appeared to ‘float’ around a room made misty by diffused evening light from a magnificent wall of windows overlooking the ocean.
All was painted a deep Mediterranean blue, drawing my eyes to sight through the vast glass windows that created a dreamy impression that we were spilling out into the ocean. A truly surreal effect created by an incredibly talented design artist. The décor was simply enhanced using painted boxes, each inset with various bleached sea- corals and a gently backlit wall of wine cupboards and fridges creating a feature out of necessity.
I couldn’t get a window table but the Maitre D’ assured that I would like the one they allocated us just as much. He was right. To our delight our table was set on a raised dais in a rear corner which provided us with a panoramic view of the whole restaurant. Staff effortlessly glided around as if in a choreographed ballet, attending to every need yet not intrusive.
As we all know, tasting menus take forever, but the hours flew by unnoticed.
To ensure we made the most of the hard won booking, we opted for the full menu and wine pairing. Not being familiar with Portuguese wines we were delighted with the finely aligned glass accompanying each course.
Ultimately it was one of those rare occasions where the superb food, the ambience, and the staff combined to create a truly memorable evening that remains bright in our memories. Think of every superlative – they all applied on that night.
At the end of last year we booked our whole family to go back to the resort, and of course the Ocean Restaurant for our Easter holiday 2020.
Our plans were brought to a crashing halt by the Covid-19 pandemic, the resort and the restaurant are now carrying forward our reservations until 2021.
We’ll drive there if we have to…. but hopefully by then some semblance of normalcy will have returned to our world, especially for those of us in the savagely affected foodservice industry.
Jacki Waker, CEO, Equipline
If you would like to take a detailed look at the Ocean Restaurant as featured above, here it is.
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