Dunbrody Cistercian Abbey in County Wexford, dating from 1182 AD

Gusto, the signature restaurant at Conrad Algarve

By Patrick Stuart [email protected]

The Conrad Algarve opened very quietly on September 26 and with it a restaurant that adds something totally new to the dining scene in the central Algarve.

Informal, chic and thoroughly cosmopolitan in ambience, it’s quite easy to forget we are in the Algarve altogether. We found this to be a refreshing change and something that no doubt will appeal to residents of the Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo area as well as hotel guests.

Chef Heinz Beck
Chef Heinz Beck

The restaurant carries the signature of German Chef Heinz Beck who earned three Michelin stars at the Hotel Cavalieri in Rome and more recently opened Aspley’s at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, winning a Michelin star in 2010.

Beck is consultant chef and has a team in place at Gusto’s show kitchen.

Surprisingly, prices are not too prohibitive, especially considering the standard of service and cuisine. We sampled the seven-course tasting menu at €42 per person.

All of the dishes were good, well presented and strong on flavour delivery. Most of the food is Mediterranean in influence and the most memorable of all for us was an immaculate dish of tortellinis made from the thinnest pasta, stuffed with aubergine in a tomato emulsion.

Another winning dish was a fillet of fresh cod in a light and crispy tempura batter with cherry gazpacho and codfish cream.

Prime steaks and seafood are amongst the specialities, all backed up with a modern and well-chosen wine list focusing primarily on Portuguese labels but with essential offerings from other countries.

Pre or postprandial drinks can be taken at the equally chic bar adjoining the restaurant where the hotel’s mixologists make some great cocktails.

Gusto is open for dinner only from 7pm, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.