Tavira has in recent times been gaining a reputation as a bastion of the Mediterranean diet. If you have been dining in some of Tavira’s fine fish and meat restaurants, you will know that the food is usually tasty, but similar.
For those who are searching for a culinary experience like no other, look no further than newly opened Encanto Natural in Tavira.
Resting comfortably across the road from the Porta Nova Hotel at the top of the hill from the river and bridge, Encanto Natural is the brainchild of Connie Wilms and her husband, Willem. They are a team originally from Germany, who are well travelled and speak fluent Portuguese, English and German having spent many years in Brazil. They bring a fusion cultural cuisine experience to Tavira in the form of vegan and vegetarian delights. Connie says, “we are very excited about opening the restaurant in Tavira, and our intention is to give people the opportunity to experience plant-based whole food with great taste.”
The restaurant is bright, clean, fresh, with comfy chairs and sofas accompanying a spacious bar area with seating for 40 people. The clean white interior with modern, crisp food related art on the walls, allows the simplistic beauty of the food to shine, though beauty isn’t the only thing bringing people to explore the food. The friendly reception with opportunities for food discovery is enticing. The couple plan to run vegan and vegetarian workshops for anyone who wants to create tantalising cuisine.
The food will be presented as a Rodizio, a Brazilian concept where the waiting staff bring samples of food to each customer several times throughout the meal.
“We will go around with trays of tapas-dishes and customers can choose what they want to experience. They will see the food and smell the aroma and can decide what they want to try. Our staff will bring one type of tapas after another. Every tray has something different. Portions will be tapas size and the price will start from €2.50. Everybody will have the chance to try a variety of dishes.”
Talking to Connie, you can see the commitment and enthusiasm for food that she believes will help to create good health and weight loss. She is an advocate for the Forks over Knives Movement.
The movement began in around 2009, with the ideas of Brian Wendel and Drs. Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, as well as other leading whole-food, plant-based experts. They created what they believe would be one of the most influential documentaries related to health and nutrition thus far.
In 2011, the documentary, entitled Forks over Knives was released to some exclaim from health professionals to citizens, from all walks of life.
This concept is not a new diet. The food mix is a new paradigm and a way of understanding and applying the power of nutrition. Over the following years, the movement continued to gain popularity as people experienced profound changes in their weight and health.
A private pre-opening party held in the last week of April buzzed with excited energy.
The night began with a choice of non-alcoholic and alcoholic cocktails. I chose a non-alcoholic cocktail of coconut milk and lime delightfully presented with a slice of lime and a straw in a sugar rimmed glass.
We started the evening meal, with a variety of tasty plates, including, Aipim, fried manioc, whole wheat bread with cream cheese made from cashew nuts, dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Peixinhos da horta, a Portuguese dish with ladyfinger tempura
Then followed a delicious mix of dishes. These included:
Chana Masala, an Indian chickpea dish with rice
Tofu ricotta manicotti with homemade noodles and tofu ricotta
Baked tofu with a rich, spicy sauce
Yaki Udon, a Japanese dish with udon noodles and a tangy vegetable sauce alongside fried mushrooms.
Oven roasted vegetables (onion, cauliflower and carrots) with a béchamel sauce made from cashew nuts.
The array of dishes was accompanied by a fresh mixed salad consisting of lettuce, rucola leaves, delicate tomatoes, fresh fruits including mango and nuts with a separate almond dressing.
The dishes just kept coming, and the excited discussion involved how to decide which was the best or the preferred taste bud tantaliser.
Finally, two types of dessert were presented and added to the rave reviews of the food. The desserts available were:
Fantasia de limão, a lemon cheesecake made with cashew cheese and fresh lemons.
A smooth, succulent chocolate ganache cake of pure chocolate, cocoa and roasted almonds.
Both were divine!
Coffee and liquors were available and enjoyed!
It would be easy to be selfish and keep Encanto Natural a secret as a special place for a few friends. But the work of the chefs under Connie’s guidance is too good to stay hidden for long.
There is no doubt a table at Encanto Natural will quickly become the hottest reservation in Tavira.
To contact Connie for reservations and workshops either call or email
Telephone: 281 381 544
Website: www.encantonatural.com (still under construction)