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Posted by portugalpress on August 03, 2017

Patrick Stuart has dinner at the town’s trendy new design hotel

Call me an old fart if you will, but the whole design hotel thing simply does not rock my boat. At 50 years of age I do not consider myself old, but I do feel somewhat ancient when visiting the hip hotels of this breed that are cropping up around the world.

However, irrespective of my own personal preferences, Casa Mãe in Lagos deserves both respect and recognition, which have not been in short supply. Featured on the hotel’s website are links to articles lavishing praise on the place; Monocle Magazine, Wallpaper and Vogue to name but a few.

The article in Monocle Magazine tells the story of how the owner, a French investment banker who had been working in London, and her partner, realised an ambition of creating a design hotel that would showcase the produce, craftsmanship and creativity of its destination.

They settled on the Algarve and Lagos, having abandoned their original plan of Marseilles, and Casa Mãe, comprising a 22-room hotel spread over three buildings alongside Lagos’s old city walls, opened last October.

Whilst the interior is modern and chic, there is an earthy feel to the place with earthenware tiled floors, a solid wood bar that surrounds the open kitchen and furniture made from raw oak and canvas.

Everything was apparently designed and made here in Portugal especially for the hotel.

Outside on the terrace is where the real cooking takes place with two wood burning ovens used to roast the vegetables that all come from the hotel’s own garden or their off-site organic farm, and a large open barbecue where all meat and fish is cooked.

Having heard and read numerous glowing reports, I decided to book a table for dinner one night last week.

We had booked for 8pm but arrived 45 minutes early to learn that dinner service only starts at 8pm. I suppose only an old fart like me would prefer to eat dinner earlier and no doubt they are catering to the preferences of the trendy young urbanites who are their clients.

On arrival we were told that someone had caught a 20-kilo tuna the same day and as a result there would be numerous tuna dishes on the menu which, incidentally, changes every day.

There was sashimi, ceviche and BBQ tuna on the menu and while we waited for dinner service to start, a few dishes from the snack menu – oysters, cured meats from Monchique and a portion of tuna sashimi – helped pass the time.

It turned out all these dishes were also on the dinner menu too, meaning that we had sneakily eaten our starters before dinner service had started. For mains I had more tuna, simply grilled on the barbecue and served rare at my request whilst my wife had lamb cutlets. Included in the price of each main course is a choice of two vegetable sides and we enjoyed some very tasty oven roasted butternut squash, courgette, aubergine and potatoes.

The food was simple but good, somewhat pricey at €140 for two people, but this did include a very nice bottle of wine costing €45. Service is efficient and very friendly.

Reservations at this time of year are essential.

968 369 732
www.casa-mae.com

By Patrick Stuart patrick.stuart@open-media.net

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