MAR d’FORA, Portugal

This restaurant is a hidden gem. Tucked away on the cliff top in Praia de Paraiso, Carvoerio, it boasts a gorgeous set up with stunning views of the sea and surrounding area. If you decide to visit for dinner you can sit outside on the veranda and watch the warm blends of purple, orange and red as the sun sets, it’s beautiful.

We (friends of mine and I) were lucky enough to discover MAR d’FORA whilst taking a tour of the town on a little train. This was perhaps the most exciting find on the tour, it definitely made it worthwhile. We booked to go for dinner on our last night of the holiday to celebrate the great week that we had had and it did not disappoint.

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The menu had a great selection of starters, mains and desserts with plenty of fresh fish options. The waiter asked if we would like to see which fish they had available that evening so we obliged. Before I knew it the waiter appeared behind me with a tray. Wait a second, something just grazed my arm.. OMG the lobster was alive. Safe to say I have never been presented with a tray of fish, let alone a live lobster. I think all of us around the table were quick to say no to that! It was an interesting experience none the less. We ordered some bread and olives to start whilst we studied the menu some more before coming to a decision, although it was a no brainer for me.

Alice ordered the lamb with potatoes and vegetables in a gravy which was succulent and tasty. Emma, Callum and Jack opted for the Tuna steak presented on a risotto bed accompanied by carrots and a jus. The Tuna was perfectly cooked and fell apart easily, the risotto creamy and full of flavour. Having read a review online I chose the fettuccini with shrimp and clams which the waiter said was a great choice! He wasn’t wrong – the dish was full of flavours with a bit of a spicy kick.

We all had a fantastic evening; great food, great wine & great company. The waiters made us feel very welcome, provided giggles and moments of surprise! Perhaps next time I will be brave enough to try the lobster…

I would definitely recommend visiting this restaurant if you ever find yourself hungry in Carvoerio. Enjoy and please share any of your own experiences!

Pizarro

So today I was invited to an impromptu celebratory lunch with work colleagues which was lovely, and lets face it, you’re not going to turn down a lunch! When I realised we were heading to Jose Pizarro’s restaurant in Bermondsey I was even more excited – I had never been before but it looked incredible and I absolutely love Spanish cuisine.

We were seated in the private dining area which was just the right amount of private. It was located around the corner from the main restaurant, seated 10, but we weren’t isolated from the whole restaurant which is great as we were still able to experience the buzz of hungry ‘lunch-ers’ (I think I’ve made that word up) in our own space.

Now I always find it a bit awkward trying to take pictures of food in a restaurant, leaning over the table to get the right angle and lighting or even asking someone to take a picture of their dish for me. I usually get a roll of the eyes or shake of the head in dissaproval for even attempting – and this is with family and friends. So you see my dilemma in trying to capture this moment for my blog whilst doing so on the sly as everyone was deep in conversation. Trying to keep work ettiqute to a tee but hey, we live in 2016, work in FinTech and all had at least two phones each on the table – I think I was safe. I could at the very least disguise it as ‘sorting some emails’.

Of course taking pictures of the menu and my own food wasn’t a problem but this was Spanish tapas, which means sharing! I captured of few of the tasty dishes but not as many as I would have liked. Here’s what I ended up with …

 

I find it difficult to choose a dish from a menu at the best of times so imagine when I’m faced with such as tasty menu, a lot of choice and I can pick more than one thing – automatically want to order 1 of everything! I still can’t decide whether this is a harder or easier choice to make. We probably ordered almost everything from the ‘pica pica’ section of the menu and we couldn’t have had tapas without Gambas al Ajillo – a classic. The chorizo and jamon iberico were delicious but my favourite dish had to be the spinach and goat’s cheese croquetas, simple yet full of flavour and a perfect contrast in texture of soft & crisp.   Similar to these was the Bermondsey Bomba – what a great name! For my main I ordered the baked aubergine gratin stuffed with roast vegetables and topped with cheese. Usually I would go for a meat course but I knew I would already be filling up at this stage with the tapas and what a great decision… the aubergine was cooked perfectly, still juicy, lots of seasonal vegetables and melted cheese – you can’t go wrong with that combo. I have to say it’s the best tapas I’ve tasted in a long time, very impressed. Quality food, great service, yummy wine and a very happy team.

My photos may not be perfect so you’ll just have to take my word for it and give it a go! My next venture is to try Jose tapas bar, just down the road!

http://www.josepizarro.com

Wine Tasting Weekends 

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So I think it’s fitting to begin this post by telling you I absolutely LOVE wine. But who doesn’t? I remember trying it as a child thinking there’s no way I would warm to it, but as my parents told me (and I’m sure every adult you spoke to did), “one day you will”. I’m much more of a white wine drinker than red wine although my palette is starting to adjust to enjoy both thankfully, it seems to be a crime to drink white with a juicy (medium-rare) steak.

So what is wine tasting weekends all about you may ask? Exactly what it says on the tin – minus the weekend as it was actually only about 2 hours. On the tube to work the other day I was immersed in the latest copy of time out, I think it’s great for finding random places to visit or things to do. And right enough I found a free wine tasting event with SA Wines. Free?! Surely it can’t be free. But it was. Perfect. I booked myself and my housemates in and it was as easy as that, just turn up at 3pm in South Wimbledon. I’ve always wanted to do a wine tasting session so this was a great excuse.

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