When you mention piri piri chicken to most people in the UK, they immediately think of Nandos: the South African powerhouse currently punting the Algarvian delicacy across Britain. I’ve been to Nandos loads of times; I mean it’s alright as far as fast food restaurants go, but that’s just it: a fast food restaurant.
I decided to go to the source of the piri piri, and visit a traditional churrasqueira (barbecue restaurant) while I was in the Algarve. I’m not talking about one of the restaurants punting grilled chicken in the center of seaside towns Albufeira and Lagos: nah, this one was in the quiet mountain town of Silves; the Moorish capital.
There are two things common sense tells us that a restaurant needs: a kitchen and a menu. Churrasquieira Valdemar has neither. There is simply a huge barbecue out front, where the chicken (and sometimes fish) is grilled. And who needs a menu? Our waiter simply asked if we wanted chicken, bread, chips, and salad. We said yes to all of them (the right answer) and they were brought out. Drink menu: “beer or wine?”. Perfect. Stress free dining.
Unless you find the question “piri piri or plain?” difficult, of course.