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O Limoeiro (The Lemon Tree)
O Limoeiro (The Lemon
Tel.: +351 289 395 399
Tuesday 9th Jan 2007
Our fourth night on our week-long break in the Algarve. We had sampled half a dozen eateries since we arrived on Saturday, and we were looking forward to O Limoeiro. We had meant to eat there the previous night, but somehow couldn't find it. (Now, of course, it seems so easy to find - it's on the main road through town - just not where we were expecting to see it)
We arrive to find a fairly small place with three or four tables occupied - one of them by a couple we'd met earlier.
We were shown to our table - next to the couple we knew, and struck up a conversation. There was by now an evident atmosphere of bonhomie pervading the place. We'd been told that it was one of the most respected restaurants in the area and were beginning to see why.
The menu arrived, and the hostess (and owner) Anne Pattis, came over to introduce herself and the menu. She recommended the "Black Pork in Madeira" to me, explaining the it wasn't actually black, just the term for pork from pigs fed exclusively on acorns. Now, I'd heard of acorn-fed pork before, and it was in the back of my mind that the flavour would be, er, unusual. Anne assured me that I would enjoy it, so what the heck... Marg selected the Chicken in peppercorn sauce. Accompaniments were sauteed potatoes with Chorizo, Carrots and courgettes.
While we waited, bread, olives and curried mushrooms were served as an aperitif.
All the while, Anne made conversation with us and the other diners, simultaneously managing the rest of the staff. It amazed and embarrassed me how easily Anne swapped between English, Portugese and German.
My word, the starters were superb, and boded well for the main course.
We each had a glass of the house red (very acceptable).
When I tried my "Black Pork" I was astounded: it was by far the best pork I'd ever had. Succulent, tender, superbly flavoured, not overwhelmed by the Madeira sauce. The vegetables were equal to the job and were cooked to perfection: subtly seasoned, adding another layer of interest to the meal. Marg was equally happy with her Chicken, and our neighbours were singing the praises of their meal as well!
It had to come to an end - I had polished off every scrap and didn't think I had room for dessert.
Anne persuaded us differently and Marg and I shared a dish of fresh Pineapple with Mango coulis: so sweet, so refreshing, such a perfect end to a truly superb meal...
Not quite. Anne insisted we each had a glass of a rather fine Tawny Port.
Surely some mistake? No - that was correct.
After settling the bill, we had another discussion with Anne, who showed us into the garden at the back - complete with Lemon Tree. Meals are served outside when the weather permits.
Anne offered us one of the lemons, which I gladly accepted - it smelled wonderful. Thank you Anne, not just for your hospitality, but for the lemon which I managed to eke out to garnish my G&Ts fr quite a while!
Absolutely Exceptional. Worth a trip to the Algarve purely to eat there!
Sandro & Marg