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Posted by portugalpress on November 23, 2017

‘Our steaks were well charred on the outside from flame grilling, red on the inside and mouth-wateringly tender’

When looking for a good steakhouse, the last place I would expect to find one is in a large resort hotel like the Tivoli Marina. But I had heard good reports about Pepper’s and decided to give it a try last Friday evening.

The hotel was extremely busy with a medical conference of some sort and when we entered the cocktail bar that adjoins the restaurant, we found the place buzzing.

The bar is well stocked, offering a large selection of cocktails and plenty of wines by the glass. As an aperitif, we enjoyed a glass of dry Alsace Riesling before moving to our table for dinner. We were seated by the window in the cosy and subtly-lit dining room, and we had expected to enjoy a view over the marina, but this is reserved for those dining on the terrace during warmer months.

Menus arrived promptly, and I was impressed to see that this restaurant features premium quality Portuguese beef alongside imported cuts. Most steakhouses here in the Algarve use exclusively foreign beef, be it from Argentina, Uruguay, the USA, Ireland, Australia or elsewhere. But Portugal has beef of superb quality such as Mirandesa from the far north of the country and Mertolenga from the Alentejo, both of which feature on the menu at Pepper’s.

Other beef options here include 21-day aged Irish Black Angus (Rib Eye and T-Bone) and US Black Angus Entrecôte from Omaha, Nebraska. As well as a wide selection of beef options, there is plenty for those not eating steak including lamb from New Zealand, Iberian black pig and also a choice of fish and seafood dishes.

Menu choices made, we called over the sommelier Eduardo Amaral, a face I recognised from the past and, after a few minutes of wine talk, I discovered he had worked over the years at some top Algarve restaurants, including Casa Velha in Quinta do Lago and Henrique Leis in Almancil.

Amaral is particularly passionate about the Douro and the Alentejo and this is reflected in his wine list, but all of Portugal’s main regions are represented along with some foreign wines - all in all, a very good wine list. With our starters, prawns sautéed in garlic and black pepper and a seafood bisque, we enjoyed an excellent white from the Lisbon region, Quinta do Gradil Sauvignon Blanc & Arinto. The prawns were of good quality and cooked to perfection whilst the seafood bisque was deeply flavoured of crab, lobster and prawn.

For main course, we opted for the US Black Angus Entrecôte, cooked medium rare and executed exactly as ordered. In fact, the menu features a useful guide describing what to expect for everything from blue through to well done with the respective internal temperature of the meat.

Our steaks were well charred on the outside from flame grilling, red on the inside and well rested, mouth-wateringly tender as to be expected from prime US Back Angus beef with a deep, rich flavour. To accompany our beef, I found an old favourite red on the wine list, Colinas Reserva from Bairrada from the 2010 vintage. Along with our steaks we ordered a selection of side dishes: steakhouse potatoes (hand-cut fries with paprika), gratin potatoes, creamed spinach and assorted vegetables.

Perhaps we over-ordered as we had no room for dessert and retired back to the bar for coffees and brandies.

Our meal for two, including the two bottles of wine, seemed very reasonable to us at just over €160, considering the quality, service and location.

Pepper’s Steakhouse,
Tivoli Marina, Vilamoura.
For reservations, call
289 303 303.

By PATRICK STUART
patrick.stuart@open-media.net

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