À Terra, Please sir , may I have some more?

a stamp of approval
Sometimes one forgets exactly what one has on one´s doorstep. We were quickly reminded of this yesterday evening. Our lovely friends from Estepona have been staying with us for a long weekend and we thought we would take them somewhere a little different. The definition "Hotel restaurant" would not normally sound enticing and would conjure up images of sterile breakfasts, business lunches, starched white linen and bad service from surly underpaid waiting staff. So its truly a revelation when an establishment providing accomodation disproves my allegation. So what are the ingredients that go together to make a memorable meal?
First and foremost, the company of friends, the service, the staff, an original and notable menu and most important of all a brilliant kitchen brigade to prepare the food. Hold on, it doesn´t end there.The attention to detail the environment and,never mind Michelin F***ing stars, even the cutlery, crockery and accesories used to bring that food to the table are all important factors. 
À TERRA is all of these things and more.As the owners describe it "More than a restaurant, a way of life."Despite the high prices, it is justified by the excellent quality of the menu, food presentation and decoration. It has a relaxed atmosphere and ideal for dining with friends.
From the moment you sit down at your table you embark on a journey of discovery.You learn about the origins of the food you have ordered and a experience a meal that has been inspired by the true gastronomic traditions particular to one region. Only the best local products are served here.Head chef David Domingues sources from local producers and with fish from the local market in Vila Real de Santo António. It is local "surf and turf" if you like, but at its best .Fruits of the sea and the Ria Formosa meet the products of the Algarvian barrocal.
Goat leg roasted in the wood oven with its own rice and fresh spinach
Your food might arrive at the table having been cooked in the wood oven fully visible from your table, in a terracotta dish, or sitting proud, as mine was, in an iron casserole. The time spent here is a chain of sensations, aromas,complimentary textures and flavours.The whole meal encompasses a story book of the East Algarve and its culinary fortune. Figs, local cheese, oranges, herbs, succulent marinated olives, flor de sal. Whatever you choose, from the simplicity of a grilled sole drizzled with olive oil and served with vegetable,s to my choice of leg of goat roasted in the wood oven and rice cooked with the juices from the meat itself. There was fresh spinach too that tasted as if it had been growning in the garden but just minutes before it landed on my plate These dishes are served with love, a feeling of  food prepared with skill and a heart, truly sublime.You get a feeling you dont often get in most restaurants, that of home made, delicious, healthy and rustic food .This is food that restores the soul with warm comforting things close to our memory. This is food familiar to us, food that,with its colours ,flavours and aromas, makes us happy.
The traditional wood oven visible from all tables
The traditional wood oven and the Josper grill are the main “players” in this forneria. Here you will find
 pizzas to share, bruschettas and various roasts prepared in old, traditional ways, fresh salads, nutty  rice seasoned with herbs and maybe pancetta, with local vegetables, gratins and much more.  Desserts consisting of delicious tarts, homemade ice-creams, chocolate fondant. This is food prepared with care to  satisfy gourmands.The bread is one of the restaurant’s key elements,and must be given  mention. Baked in the traditional wood oven, it makes its presence felt in many different manifestations throughout the meal. Just warm from the oven or finely sliced and toasted "melba" style.
Please sir,may I have some more?


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