If you have been a regular reader of the blog lately, you may have noticed that I have been trying to re-live the fishing village dinners of my recent french holiday, memories of chargrilled octopus for ridiculous cheap prices along side simple halves of jacket potatoes.
Well, I think I have finally found it- albeit without the cheap prices.
Having ordered starters, we had a sense of foreboding when Villa Moura placed next to our waiting cutlery a plate of bread that featured a cheap brown roll. We are guessing hovis, or maybe Aldi. This was made all the word by the attempts to warm it, which just dried it out and made it seem stale.
The starters arrived with a type of a grilled bacon like chorizo which initially felt a bit disappointing, but then we tucked into the whole combination of squid and peri peri sauce, and then didn’t really stop until there was nothing that could be swept up with a fork, and then reaching for the bread to mop it all up and thinking… er… maybe not, I am not going to let stale hovis spoil this masterpiece of a dish. Perhaps this is how the anglicised disgust with wiping plates with bread all began. It was never as we might have thought, a belief that such a habit was rude and messy, but respect for not ruining the meal with bad bread.
So really, having felt a little disappointed with the scene setting bread, things were looking up.
Things looked down again when we then got so fed up waiting for the plates to be cleared that we cleared them ourselves ands put them at the end of the table, where they were studiously ignored by many an empty handed waiter and waitress. We forgot that that starters were great and started to fall asleep. We asked if our mains were going to show and were given an apologetic explanation about disorganisation in the kitchen, and dinner would be no more than five more minutes.
Eight minutes later, filleted sea bass with a pistachio crust cooked in shallots and lemon juice basil and parsley arrived (looking like it had been cooked for about eight minutes) with cooked potatoes and vegetables and similar items that the menu hadn’t mentioned. It was flawlessly delicious. It was what I have been looking for all month. It was worth the wait. Did I really say that? It really really was worth the wait.
Shortly after we finished it the table behind us, who had been in before us, received their main meal.
Many of the desserts looked promising. But it was getting a bit late to spend much time choosing and I had an enjoyable poached pear in red wine, and sampled the creme caramel on the other side of the table. Both arrived very promptly.
This was not the end of the meal. I mean, can you imagine the joy of being able to order truffles with (or for – if you’re that type of person) dessert? The menu offers truffles in quantities of 3,5,8- a quick perusal of the restaurant revealed that we were almost all in pairs- we were compelled to chose the 8. And we were motivated to do this by the truffles we observed on another table, very large round chocolates. However what arrived were the flaked chocolate truffle-type and not all that great. We have our suspicions… It feels like they are working throughout a set of gifts the guests brought.
We hadn’t brought chocolates, wine or flowers on our visit. Do you think that is why they never cleared the plates?