A new restaurant specialising in the Peruvian delicacy known as ceviche has opened in Loulé, serving not only delicious food but also promising to become a cultural hub for art exhibitions, poetry readings, live music and plays.
Entitled Pirá, the new eatery is located on Rua Serpa Pinto and is open Tuesday to Saturday.
“My biggest dream has always been to open a restaurant in Loulé,” Cauê Reis, chef and owner of the new establishment, told Barlavento newspaper.
“This seed was planted in my head years ago. I made it a point to offer something in this town that didn’t yet exist,” he added.
Ceviche is a dish that is already served at some restaurants across the region, although Pirá is the first to make it the main focus of its menu.
The 32-year-old describes it as an “explosion of flavours”.
“It is a dish that is originally from Peru but has drawn influence from almost all over the world. It is made with lime juice and good quality fresh fish, red onion, chilli peppers and ‘leche de tigre’, a kind of stock made out of the fish marinade, with garlic, ginger and chillies,” the chef explained.
This is the classic ceviche recipe, although at Pirá there will be five other unique versions created by Reis.
One of them is made with corvina, mango, passion fruit and coconut milk while another is inspired by the Algarve and is made with octopus, carrots, peppers and almonds.
There is also a sea bass ceviche made with beets, red berries and chilies, a vegan version made with heart of palm and a ceviche made with braised tuna, black beans, cuttlefish ink and algae.
They are all served with sweet potato chips and corn chips and are all made with fresh fish caught in Algarvian waters.
Apart from the ceviche dishes, customers will also be able to order four different ‘salgadinhos’ (fried fish snacks) as well as ‘tartacos’ – tartare-filled tacos.
Prices for the ceviche dishes range between €8.75 and €12.50, while the ‘tartacos’ cost around €8 on average and the salgadinho costs up to €4.95.
“The plan is to have 10 new dishes every month. They will be made with fish or be vegetarian and will all have South American or Portuguese and Algarvian influences. Even Asian influences if I feel like it,” he said.
Desserts will also be added to the menu, which already features a selection of 10 wines, most of which are white, sparkling or rosés as they are the ones that are “best paired with ceviche”.
“People here are sometimes wary when something new comes along. But we will persevere. Almost all foreigners know what ceviche is, so I’m sure we will attract many tourists to Loulé,” the chef said.
Pirá also aims to become a hotspot for local artists.
“We will have live music, poetry nights, dance workshops, showcooking events, plays and our walls will be used to exhibit paintings. This will be an open space. It is an idea that came to me because I have many childhood friends from Loulé who are self-taught and are extremely talented. Here, they will have a place to show their talent,” he said.
While these are still early days, Cauê Reis is already thinking about expanding to other Algarvian towns although the priority at the moment is to establish this first restaurant in Loulé.
It currently sits 40 people although an outdoor terrace with an extra 12 seats will be unveiled in April.
On Fridays and Saturdays, it will be open until 2am and will become something of a “gastrobar, with live music”. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it will be open for lunch or for an afternoon snack until 6pm. On Thursdays, it will open at 12 noon and stay open for dinner.
Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.
Please note that the restaurant may have implemented Covid-19 restrictions. Call Pirá on 937 366 503 before visiting.
Photos: MARIA SIMIRIS/OPEN MEDIA GROUP