Algarvean Daze

Events & Activities - mainly during the daytime - across the Algarve

Saturday Night at Patricia's Mini-Mercado

Between Fonte Louseiros and Benaciate there are a series of speed-bumps on the road at a wide spot called Lavajo. There can be no reason for these other than to slow down traffic sufficiently, giving the drivers just enough time to see that there is a mini-mercado tucked away, just off the road. This is Patricia's.

When friends of ours, residents here, asked us last week if we wanted to join them for grilled chicken and dancing at Patricia's, we were confused. Dinner at the 'corner shop'? Yes, they had seen a poster for the event, there would be live music, food, fun and merriment. OK why not? At €1 per head cover charge we figured we might be able to afford to get in.

We arrived about 8:30, the singers already on the stage, and not a single table to be had. We did find a place to sit, at tiny tables under the trees, unfortunately this meant that we were looking at everyone looking at the stage, and the backs - and backsides - of the singers.

The 'organisation' of the night was typically chaotic. Having paid on the roadside to get in, we then had to go into the mini-mercado and find Patricia and tell her how many chickens we wanted. Drinks were then taken from the shelves and taken to the checkout, where we then told 'Mr' Patricia how many chickens we had told Patricia, whereupon he rang the whole lot up.

Somehow, the people they had employed to ferry the chicken from the grill to the tables did find us, and within minutes, foil pie plates of fresh bread, crispy salad, potato crisps and of course, succulent chicken, were delivered to us in our little snug among the yuccas.

As is typical of eating out in the Algarve, the food was excellent and certainly more than sufficient. Our cats will dine well today.

The music, provided by a duo performing to backing tracks (no longer a third world country here) never ended. If both vocalists weren't on stage together, one always was. None of this 'you're a really great audience, we'll be back in 30 minutes'. No way, just lively tunes, delivered well, to an appreciative, mainly Portuguese audience.

The Portuguese love to dance, and once the chickens had been consumed, the quick-steppers took to stepping quickly and effortlessly around each other. I got exhausted just watching them.

When we left around midnight, people were still paying their €1 at the gate.

The damage - four covers, four meals, three bottles of wine and a great night's entertainment - €36. Will we be able to continue such reckless spending? Time alone will tell...