By Mich Dressler
Around 25 members and guests of the Algarve Bailliage (Chapter) of the Chaine des Rotisseurs enjoyed a first-time experience of French cuisine thanks to Chef Guy Doré of Pequeno Mundo in Almancil, who prepared a selection of culinary delights for the gourmets.
The evening was hosted by Chef Guy and his business partner Joaquim Vilela.
Shaded by a canopy of cork trees, Mundo Pequeno is set in a traditional Algarvian property, divided into a patio, a terrace and two indoor dining areas. Here you can admire a 16th century altar, which is the backdrop to the bar, and some Portuguese antiques.
Joaquim Vilela comes from the north of Portugal, and as a young man left for France where he lived for seven years before going to Australia to work in various positions, including as concierge at the Hilton Hotel and as an interpreter for the Ethnic Affairs Commission in New South Wales. Some 30 years ago, he spent a holiday in the Algarve and decided to stay.
Guy Doré, the Chef de Cuisine, comes from Troyes, Champagne, France. Between 1979 and 1988, he worked in Paris, London and Cannes, where his experience with Jacques Chibois (two-Michelin star Hotel Gray d’Albion in Cannes) determined a change in his style of cooking.
During this 10-year period he participated in the planning and opening of two restaurants, one in Mersea (England), Le Champenois, and another in Cannes, L’Echiquier.
It was when he met and married his wife Milita that his path moved to the Algarve in 1988, when he opened a small creperie-restaurant, the Paris-Cannes. In the early 1990s, he became the chef in the restaurant O Traditional, where the collaboration with Joaquim Vilela as head waiter began and in 1999 they acquired Pequeno Mundo.
The restaurant menu includes mainly recipes of French origin, prepared in a simplified manner but with special attention to flavours and presentation.
After enjoying finger food with Espumante Soalheiro in the garden, we moved into the restaurant to start with the traditional French Foie Gras de Canard, which had been delicately prepared and was very tasty. It was accompanied by a sweet Sauterne St Helene to continue the tradition of the French Chef.
This was followed by a succulent poached à point fresh cod (bacalhau) fillet with a chorizo crumble. The bacalhau was beautiful and the crumble had the right strength in taste to bring the fish to the fore. The dish was enhanced by the 2011 white Reserva from Herdade dos Grous.
The main course was one of Guy’s favourites, the fillet of beef with his signature Béarnaise sauce and the gratin dauphinois. This was accompanied by a 2009 Vale da Mata Red from Lisbon.
The last course was a trilogy of desserts, comprising a delectable dark chocolate cake with walnut biscuit, a mango crumble with coconut and a raspberry crousillant, which were contrasting and a fitting conclusion to the successful dinner.
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