Saturday 22nd April 2023.
What can the customer visiting a restaurant expect? Food and service that are at least as good if not better in fact than what you’d find at home when one of you is staffing the stove. Or is that maybe asking too much? What we definitely don’t want is to go home with an upset tummy.
In our capacity as test eaters we take our seat anonymously in Mosaiko, a Moroccan restaurant in Silves (Rua Elias Garcia, 17). It’s a Saturday evening, shortly before 8pm. There are two of us, and studying the menu already has us looking forward to the meal. We order the large vegetarian platter, number B18, priced €13.90. Arriving fairly swiftly, the platter bears falafel, hummus, an aubergine paté, marinated carrots, vine leaves with labna strained yoghurt … definitely a great spread to stimulate the palate with everything that the Moorish kitchen has to offer us. The menu is very varied: meat and fish, but also meat-free options.
My test partner orders a starter, consisting of a goat‘s cheese with honey and walnuts (B6, €6). This comes with pita bread. We drink the equally home-made lemonade (€3.80) and also some mineral water, served in a Vitalis glass bottle. Not bad. The price of the water includes 13% VAT, the home-made lemonade a whopping 23 per cent. Would someone from the government deign to explain the difference to me, and the reasoning behind it?
The restaurant is situated in a traffic-calmed pedestrian zone and we have decided on an outside table on the esplanada. It’s one of the first warm evenings in the Moorish town of Silves, the former capital of the Kingdom of Algarve, which lived for five centuries under Moorish cultural influence, flourishing in the process. The large specialties platter is served (see photo) and we take the cutlery out of the fabric-like sleeve hiding a fork and knife with napkin (see photo): very tasteful and stylish. Turning the plate towards me I choose chickpea hummus, a little aubergine puree and an artichoke.
Sadly, the latter is not fresh but from a jar, judging by its bitter watery aftertaste. Not good, for most preserved vegetables are not free from additives. In this case however no preservatives are declared on the menu. So what is this? The stuffed vine leaves however make up for lost ground, making the palate tingle. A bit of tomato salad over here, some finger food over there, a little bit of everything: this nearly makes us forget about the bitter artichoke at the start.
What has to be pointed out here though is that none of the waiting staff are interested in whether the food is to our taste, whether we are happy with what we ordered, whether the dishes are meeting our expectations. We’d have loved to know why the hummus was swimming in olive oil. This was definitely for decorative reasons, but makes no sense, as we suspect the oil of being rancid. In fact, later at night we sleep badly. When we dine out we always review the restaurant the following day.
At 9pm the parasols are folded up above our heads, a hint that our dinner, priced 42 euros (for two) should soon come to an end. But wait, a Moroccan meal calls for a dessert and we don’t want to leave without. So we order a light orange mousse (milk!) and a bolo (cake) da casa (priced € 9). Rounding off the meal they save the day – or evening as it were.
Of the possible 15 points overall (excellent), we’ll give our dinner eight points, corresponding to the grade „satisfactory“. Unfortunately this delightfully decorated restaurant doesn’t go in much for local produce. Last not least, those who’d like to enjoy Moroccan food & drink and leave the car behind could check wit host Salma Lahbata whether one of the five Moorish suites on the upper floor are available.
www.mosaikorestaurant.com – Telephone +351 969.260.004 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
closed on Mondays, open Tues-Sun between midday and 11pm, the kitchen closes at 9.30pm.