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Posted by portugalpress on September 07, 2017

Patrick Stuart samples Carvoeiro’s new Thai restaurant

August 22 saw the very quiet opening of Carvoeiro’s newest restaurant, the Thai Elephant. The location is not great, on the back road that leads to Carvoeiro from Poço Partido (turn left after Intermarché if heading from Lagoa to Carvoeiro), but this should not deter those of us who appreciate good Thai food from jumping into a taxi or driving.

On entering the restaurant, it is clear to see that the owners, a French/Thai couple and their son, have gone to a great deal of effort to create an authentic environment. All the furniture has been imported from Thailand, as have the plates, cutlery and the ornaments that adorn the room.

Prices are not cheap, but this is a quality restaurant and overall value for money is good. There is certainly no skimping on ingredients and the skill in the kitchen is well evident.

We were impressed by the presentation of dishes, especially the intricate fruit and vegetable carving and the quality of the home-made dough using natural colouring that was used for the “Thai Raviolis” as pictured here. This was our favourite dish; the tender steamed dumplings filled with a mildly spiced mixture of caramelised shallots, minced pork and peanuts, flavoured with fish sauce and coriander.

The menu is wide ranging but does not include any Thai salads, clearly an option of the chef.

A justified omission is the ubiquitous Pad Thai noodles, a dish which, in fact, is not actually traditionally Thai but rather a staple on westernised Thai menus.

Curries are delicately spiced, fragrant with fresh herbs such as Thai basil and Kaffir lime leaves and carefully cooked.

Other than a couple of curries and the above-mentioned dumplings, we sampled spring rolls, crispy and light, filled with crunchy vegetables, a Tom Yum soup with large juicy prawns, some stir-fried vegetables and a tasty noodle dish.

The quality and freshness of the ingredients was consistently good, the flavours clean and precise, but we did find it all a little under-spiced for our taste, but this was easily resolved with extra fresh chopped chilis on the side.

The wine list is quite extensive and sensibly priced. We enjoyed a very nice Provence rosé priced at €18. There is a reasonable selection of Portuguese wines and a surprisingly good choice of French reds from both Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The Thai Elephant is a very welcome addition to Carvoeiro’s restaurant scene, something well above the average in terms of quality, representing good value for money that deserves to succeed. We will certainly be returning to sample more dishes.

Open for dinner only, Tuesday to Saturday and for lunch on Sundays.

For reservations, call 282 041 133.

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