Chef Pedro Limão was the guest of honour for a weekend of modern Portuguese flavours at Ozadi Tavira Hotel, and ultimately the reason I ended up uncovering a modern revamped hotel within this very traditional Algarve village.

Nelson loves Tavira. He spends all his summers here, but for me it was a bit of re-discovery journey. Even though I was born in the Algarve, I haven’t spent time in the summer holiday region of Portugal. That is until recently, when I was invited to experience the Ozadi Tavira Hotel and the Martinhal Beach Resort. I have to say that it was a true pleasure to realize that Tavira is still pretty much a small fishermen village on the east coast of Algarve.

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About the Ozadi Tavira Hotel

Built in the 60’s, the Ozadi Tavira Hotel has found new life through a multi-million euro refurbishment. The stale decoration and below par service, which in the past only catered to budget Anglo-Saxon summer tourists, has been replaced with modern sleek furniture, a designer pool and zen gardens. Most importantly, Ana (the young owner responsible for this revamp) has put food on the front lineof the Ozadi’s guest experience. Orangea lends its name the trendy petiscos (small dishes) restaurant of the hotel and also her side project – Portugal’s orange version of the Limoncello – the Orangea.

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The room’s colours are inspired on the maturation of the typical carob pod, it goes from green to dark brown, to almost black. They hold other intricate natural materials like cork, of which the lamps and the headboard are made of. The latter is a redesign the flat roofs of local fishermen’s houses. I appreciate the usage of Portuguese products and the local inspiration for the room’s decoration.

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The schedule dinner with Chef Pedro Limão was only taking place in the day after our arrival, so I took the opportunity to try different traditional Petiscos from the Algarve: octopus pataniscas – a deep-fried salty pastry made from eggs, flour, onion and octopus; tuna Muxama  with an aromatic salad and olive oil. Muxama is made from the best part of the tuna fish – the loin. It is salted and air dried, still being made today with the same 2000 year old method. Some call it the ham of the sea. Also on the menu was alheira (traditional white meat sausage) coquette, and topped off by a new desert, dried figs soaked in Orangea for 24h served with ice cream and mint.

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After dinner, we had a little cocktail hour with our barman producing three cocktails with Orangea ; “Sweet Summer” with vanilla syrup, lemon and a cinnamon stick; “Mediterranean Field” with almond syrup, brandy, lemon juice and a dash of  Angustura; “South cocktail” with Tanqueray 10 gin and lemon juice. This last Orange cocktail was by far my favourite, as the gin gave it an extra (and much-needed) kick.

Pedro Limão’s Dinner at the Ozadi Tavira Hotel

The second day started with a trip to Tavira were we met Chef Pedro at the  Tavira Market for a brief talk before our dinner. He was buying some last-minute fresh produce and fish, including some spices and dried figs.

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Let me just tell you a bit about Chef Pedro Limão . Pedro is an outsider. His projects are innovative and out of the box for Portugal. His first culinary project, “Clandestino” (started in 2010) was at his house. This supper club had a choice menu, but a fixed price and drinks included. It was a success so Pedro decided to open “Pedro Limão” restaurant, a in between project. It was like “Clandestino” but open to the public. He’s an experimentalist chef, that cooks with modern and traditional cuisine, and when possible with organic food. This is what I love about Pedro.

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Dinner started with a Orangea welcome cocktail and a Foam of “Arjamolho” cold soup, with razor clams and oregano. A very interesting dish due to the freshness given by the sea flavour of the clams and the earth tones of the parsley olive oil.

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Next came the Tuna tartar, horseradish and sesame mayonnaise, smoked pepper and coriander. It was a superb dish, but I would have preferred it with wasabi instead of horseradish.

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The Codfish on an almond and herbs crust, black risotto, red pepper cream and daykon salad was incredible. The codfish was pure smoothness and it tied exquisitely with the herb crust. The risotto was perfectly cooked, with the combination of the saltness of the codfish with the creaminess of the risotto resulting in an explosion of flavours in my mouth.

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To clean the palate came a bitter almond and lime slush. Refreshing!

The star of the night was the Smocked rack of baby lamb, broad beans, quinoa and peas. The meat was perfect (as one would expect) and the quinoa gave a delicate touch to the broad beans. A very balanced dish.

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We got a Orangea shot before the desert : Mountain cake, walnuts, citrus and honey. Pure Algarve flavours, where the cake had a fig jelly on top that gave it extra moisture. Just heaven!

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My experience at the Ozadi Tavira Hotel

It was a great meal, all the components were perfectly cooked and all the plates had fun mixture of flavours, I really enjoyed it. It was so relaxed that we kept the same wine for the entire meal, a white Encosta da vinha from Dão wine region, very fresh some citric, very pleasant.

 

Disclaimer:

My stay at the Ozadi Tavira Hotel was organized by Plataforma-a Communication Agency. All opinions are my own. 

Rates for the Tavira Principal Suite in which I stayed in start at 250€ per per night with breakfast included. 

Ozadi Tavira Hotel info :

ozaditavirahotel.com

EN 125, Quinta das Oliveiras

8800-053, Tavira

Telephone: +351 281 324 324

Text and photos by Maria Braga