East meets west

Introducing the new menu and cuisine at one of Carvoeiro´s favourite restaurants

Earlier this year, Chef Valdemar Guerreiro joined the team of the Pimenta Preta restaurant, at Palm Gardens, and brought his lifetime of world travels and experience with him to create a bright, vibrant and delicious fusion menu to the resort restaurant, formally famed for its white gloves and fine dining.

The changes see the introduction of numerous mildly spicy dishes, with Thai, Indian and South American cuisine adding to the restaurant’s Mediterranean offerings.

Chef Guerreiro spent some 20 years of his career working around the world both on luxury cruise liners and on land, which is evident in all the flavours packed into the dishes.

Having spent all these years working as a chef between the USA, Mexico, Australia, Alaska, Argentina, the UK and Central America, the Portuguese-born chef decided it was time to return to his roots and be with his family again, back in the Algarve, bringing a wealth of global gastronomic tricks of the trade with him.

During his travels, he took a few trips to Thailand, India and Japan to further improve his skillset. In Japan, he began to learn the craft of sushi-making and even dabbled in preparing the highly toxic pufferfish. Whilst in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Goa, India, Chef Valdemar really got to grips with the oftencomplex techniques involved in preparing and blending spices.

Valdemar has a true world cuisine approach, using simple but authentic techniques. He grinds all of his own spices and makes everything from scratch for dishes such as the Thai green curry of sole, red curry monkfish and chicken tikka masala. Anyone who appreciates a well-made curry will recognise the care and attention that goes into making his sauces. When trying out the dishes, it’s always advisable to discuss the level of intensity that you prefer, as most dishes are very fragrant but not too spicy. It’s really a matter of asking the waiter or waitress to let the chef know that you would like the dish to be spiced up a bit.

Whilst the menu features numerous authentic Asian dishes, others such as wild salmon fillets with honey, mustard and ginger sauce, offer just a slight influence in the Pacific Rim fusion style.

We asked Chef Valdemar to choose his favourite 3-course meal from the current menu, and, as a great fish lover, he told us he has access to “some of the best fish around here. The sea is literally on our doorstep so I would go for the beautiful mixed fresh fish ceviche as a starter, a ‘meaty’ monkfish in red curry with lychees as a main course and the sticky rice with mango for dessert.”

“The fresh flavours in this menu are perfect for the long summer here in the Algarve. I’ve created somewhat of a fusion menu, which is effectively the essence of my personal voyage and culinary experiences over the past 20 or so years.”

The restaurant, of course, still has a few western classics on the evening menu, including Caprese Salad, veal loin “Rossini”, Chocolate Fondant and the fabulous, theatrical Flambéed Crepe station, which is prepared tableside.

There really is something for everyone, at very reasonable prices considering the quality and, as always is the case at Pimenta Preta, an excellent and well-priced wine selection, which is generally something that is sorely missing when enjoying Asian flavours. With a new, bright paint job and a few small decorative touches, the restaurant is more relaxed in style now, creating the perfect harmony between venue and menu. Pimenta Preta is open daily for lunch and dinner but the full menu is only available in the evening.


Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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