When they met, Artur was vegetarian and worked in the field of permaculture; Carla, who has been a crudivore for about two years, had been a vegetarian for 20 years, and worked professionally in teaching yoga, in functional medicine and macrobiotic cooking and Ayurveda. “I was interested in finding a location to open an organic grocery and Artur was looking for a place to open a vegan restaurant; we were both independent and started to look at shops and got to know each other better; we ended up falling in love,” Carla explains, with a twinkle in her eye. Their passion also applied to healthy nutrition and sustainability, and quickly gave rise to a bigger project, comprising three phases, where waste is practically zero. “All the rubbish we produce is put to good use. The project is divided into three parts; the first is complete, that is the restaurant and the grocery; the second part is being completed on the ground, which is the construction of wormeries and compost heaps. We use the leftovers from our restaurant and all the organic waste and we leave them to decompose. Then, the decomposed material leads us to the third part of the project, the vegetable plot, which is starting to be active,” Artur explains, adding that “from the vegetable plot, the products return to the restaurant in a continuous cycle, composting, vegetable plot and restaurant, and so on.” The aim is also to create jobs that are high on the happiness index. “Once the three parts of the project are complete, there will be the possibility of creating jobs in each of them, for a family, a couple, or for one person, without depending on bosses, but in an autonomous way, and, apart from supplying each of the three parts of the project, we can try to sell the surplus outside as well,” says Artur.
Food cooked in a wood oven
At the moment, it is in the restaurant/grocery that the project is developing most. The name of the establishment – Outro Lado (Other Side) – was suggested by Carla. “As I’m a yoga teacher, I always try to see the situation from the other side and, a week after we had thought of different names, we ended up with this one.” Indeed, at this restaurant, we really did find a different side from what establishments of this type normally offer. The food is cooked in a wood oven like in our grandmothers’ day; the process takes around three hours in total, practically the whole morning. ” It takes around an hour to heat up the stove, and it takes between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to cook a dish, depending on the dish,” says Carla, stressing that wood “is sustainable. Our supplier plants two trees for every old tree that is cut down; he’s been doing this for some time, and often he doesn’t even need to chop trees down. He just cuts the excess from existing trees. The wood is holm oak, which creates less smoke and is also a local product.” In fact, local products are one of the main priorities of this couple, who “always seek out Portuguese products and in the first place as local as possible, and always organic.” For each meal, they present two options, two different dishes, whose ingredients come almost exclusively from Algarve producers, “with the exception of legumes, which come from the Alentejo”. The couple are not attracted by products from other countries, and at considerably lower prices. “We have the only Portuguese raw chocolates and we refuse to have other brands. There are many, but only one is Portuguese and that is what we choose. We also have two energy bars produced in the Algarve and another from the north of the country. We also attach importance to social sustainability; it’s not only the final product that is important, but the people who are provided with jobs and the conditions they offer workers,” says Artur.
“The furniture is recycled and we have no plastic”
The food is vegan, no animal products or those derived from animals are used, nor tofu or seitan, because they are processed, and according to these owners “what is processed is not edible for people who attach importance to nutrition, which is why we have no processed products.” Apart from the food, Outro Lado also stands out thanks to its interiors, and most of the furniture was acquired second hand. “Much of it was given to us or was going to be thrown out, either from hotels or other establishments; we even found some things in the rubbish and we restored them, including some furniture, and decorative items we made ourselves from scratch, such as some of the lamps and other furnishings,” says Artur proudly. There are various initiatives to do with sustainability in this establishment, ranging from the use of water, which goes directly from washbasins to the toilet cisterns, to the absence of plastic. “We have no plastic here, and if you want a bottle of water, we don’t have any. In fact, we don’t sell water, we just give people a glass of water or serve it by the jug. We have a Brazilian filter, regarded as one of the best in the world, made of clay and ceramic, with charcoal that filters the water. Sometimes, we also have five-litre bottles of water, but we always minimise the amount of plastic.” And, in the case of take-away food, this can be taken home in a glass jar, or if you opt for a package, in containers and bags made from maize and sugar cane; there are also plates and cutlery made of bamboo. At the end of the interview, chef Carla gives the following suggestion for healthy eating. “Eat as simply as possible what the land provides, preferably local produce, including meat or fish, which we happen not to eat.”
And we are grateful for the suggestion. Thank you.
Travessa da Madalena, nº6 •
Open: Monday 12-15h + 17:30-20h – Tuesday to Friday 10-15 + 18-20h
Saturday 10-15h + 18-22h
Res. +351 912 980 738