Quinta do Lago’s CUÁ CUÁ Club, with its pioneering concept of fun dining, welcomes TASCA of renowned chef José Avillez
Last year, the opening of CUÁ CUÁ Club in BuganVilia Plaza was already a much-anticipated addition to the Algarve nightlife scene. But since June, Michelin-starred chef José Avillez has added extra flair to the venue with the opening of his first restaurant in the Algarve. With a menu influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and South American flavours, TASCA is inspired by its sister restaurant in Dubai, although it has a different take, adapted to Algarve products and a different public.
“It’s a mix of local products with extravagant touches, associated with entertainment restaurants catering for people who are on holiday and want to try different things,” the chef explains. The restaurant offers a gastronomic journey through the world, “with ceviche, marinades and sushi, but also some reinterpretations of Portuguese dishes, such as carabineiro rice with crab and clams, octopus with migas, and piri-kimchi chicken”. According to the chef, the menu presents Algarve products cooked with different seasonings.
José Avillez also highlights two details that showcase the creativity that his recipes are famous for. The couvert is served with truffle butter, olives, corn bread and olive bread and lupini hummus. “We wanted something different but still very Portuguese, which is what I really like,” the chef explains. He also highlights the cherry gazpacho with cured ham and requeijão [a ricotta-like cheese], “which is very refreshing and ideal” for summer nights.
Besides the meat dishes, of which the sirloin steak with coffee sauce is already a favourite, there are also fish, seafood and vegetarian dishes, such as truffle linguini with mushrooms and parmesan. For sharing, the chef suggests the niguiris and gunkans, but also any of the hot starters, such as codfish tempura or prawns with moqueca and lime sauce. To finish the meal on a high note, there is a large selection of desserts to choose from, or you can just go for the “MezzA”, which brings together all the options to the table. But there is one specialty, popular across all restaurants under the Avillez brand, which can perhaps surpass any other dessert – Avelã3, the perfect choice for those with a sweet tooth, combining hazelnut ice cream and hazelnut praline foam covered with the nut and fleur de sel. As was expected, the drinks menu also features an eclectic range of cocktails, wines, champagnes, gins, liquors, tequilas and even saké.
When asked why he chose CUÁ CUÁ Club and Quinta do Lago to open his first restaurant in the Algarve, after declining offers from other locations, the chef thought the opportunity, which came late last summer, was “a good investment”. And it seems he was not wrong, assures João Magalhães, co-owner of CUÁ CUÁ who has years of experience working with brands dedicated to nightlife entertainment. “The chef’s experience was the perfect complement to make this project even more special. Each one of us is doing what we do best. We have been receiving many compliments and people are truly amazed by the venue. Last year when we opened the Club, we were already very good, but this year we have achieved top marks and have a fantastic experience to offer. We got it right and we have all the ingredients to be a great success,” he says.
When it was launched in July 2021, CUÁ CUÁ Club wanted to make a difference by bringing to the Algarve a pioneering concept known as “fun dining”, which has grown exponentially over the last four years, especially in large holiday resorts. “It’s a specific, premium product that aims to put sparkle in the Algarve nightlife, designed for people who are more demanding, even when it comes to having fun with friends. We paid attention to every detail and the place exudes elegance. We can say, without pretence, that this project is in line with one of the three boldest in the country,” Magalhães states. CUÁ CUÁ offers three different experiences in the same space. “It has been designed to be a meeting point in this segment – a place where you can have a drink late afternoon, followed by dinner at TASCA and continue the night on the dance floor.” For now, the plan is for the venue to remain open for six months, and it is recommended that you book in advance, through the website or social media.
José Avillez’s TASCA is open every day in summer, from 7.30pm to midnight. In the low season, the opening hours are from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday. CUÁ CUÁ Club is open between 7.30pm and 5am.