Nestled in the centre of Carvoeiro, is Ele and Ela, a bistro-style eatery serving up an array of Mediterranean dishes on a small but eclectic menu in an inviting and unpretentious setting. Created by chef and host Harald, the cosy restaurant has built up quite the loyal following, and so bookings are very much advised!
Ele and Ela was the suggestion of a helpful chap called Sam on Twitter. You see, when we were planning our trip to Carvoeiro I didn’t really know much about the area. After all, when most people head to Portugal, they head to Lisbon or Albufeira and as a result, Carvoeiro is mostly unknown and unblogged about.
So I leapt on Twitter to see if anybody had any suggestions. I wasn’t expecting many replies, but as luck would have it, Sam had been and he hit me up with a few suggestions worth checking out, amongst which was Ele and Ela.
So one night, I went down to Ele and Ela to see what all the fuss was about.
Only it was fully booked.
So I booked a table for the following night and tried again!
The decor in Ele and Ela is cosy, relaxed and has an inner dining room situated in the back with simple high-backed chairs and wooden tables for larger groups, leading to the front of the restaurant which sits along the roadside under a covered terrace—enabling you to enjoy the warm breeze blowing past from the nearby beach.
After taking my places at the table the drink order was taken and we were handed menus. Beverage service was quick, but a word to the wise—they serve their drinks strong. I have no idea whether it was the brand of Gin, or whether they free-pour, but my taste buds weren’t quite ready. No complaints, of course, we all know I’m all about that gin life, but be ready!
The menu at Ele and Ela is short, sweet and screams “eat me”. As mentioned previously, it features and an array of Mediterranean dishes, but there are other flavours intertwined throughout. Such as the homemade Thai fishcakes served with a fresh chilli dip. I already knew what I was having, as had plenty of time to peruse from the day before… Or so I thought.
Turns out you can look at the menu at Ele and Ela prior to your arrival and still be confused about what to order when you get there. So I ordered some chicken samosas to create some time to decide upon mains.
Served perfectly crisp on a bed of salad with tzatziki drizzled over, they were absolutely delicious. The samosas were enough to whet the appetite, and within minutes I had decided upon mains.
Pork with a rich barbecue sauce served on a bed of champ mash.
However, the real winner of the night, was the Moroccan lamb shank served with champ mash.
The lamb was so tender that I only had to nudge the bone for the meat to fall off and the sauce was deep, rich and flavoursome.
My only complaint is that towards the end of the meal service started slacking and as a result, I waited over twenty minutes for the bill (when all I wanted to do is leave to get more gelato). But then I noticed that there was only one person running food, and having worked in busy restaurants before I could sympathise, especially as they were fully booked.
But that in no way detracted from how much I enjoyed my evening, because the staff were friendly, the temperature was perfect and the food was good!
Ele and Ela don’t have a website, but I do suggest booking if you find yourself in Carvoeiro one evening.
That lamb is just too good not to have in your life!