Restaurante Bon Bon

A rising star

\\ Text Andreia Filipa Ferreira
\\ Photography © Telmo Antunes

His shy smile easily blossoms into a cheeky grin as the list of compliments goes on. If not for his creativity when presenting dishes, then for the fine blend of flavours making up the menu he creates. It is thanks to his talent in the kitchen that Algarve restaurant Bon Bon had the honour, November last year, of being recognised with a Michelin star and thus entered the exclusive and prestigious culinary club. At 29, Rui Silvestre is the chef responsible for the unforgettable gastronomic experiences enjoyed at Bon Bon and, in the certainty that the best is yet to come, he retains the same commitment and dedication he has long been known for. As for Bon Bon, located in one of the Western Algarve's prime areas, between Carvoeiro, Ferragudo and Lagoa, it transmits a sense of calm and sophistication through cosy décor and a stunning view across the plains leading up to the distant foothills of the Serra de Monchique.

We asked Rui Silvestre if cooking has always played an important part in his choices in life. He quickly replies that history got him first, but that with time, cooking got the better of him. Possibly through the moments in which his family came together at dinner time, ensuring the act of eating became an important occasion for sharing and discussing daily events. For Rui Silvestre, cooking thus became much more than preparing a meal.

From Valongo, where he was born, he headed south to the Algarve Hotel School and, years later, his career took him abroad, enjoying stints at La Ferme Saint-Siméon and Le Castellet, both in France and both bearers of Michelin stars. But, it was during his time as executive sous-chef at Costes Restaurant, in Hungary, that Rui Silvestre achieved the first star in his CV. Today, proud of the path he has trodden, Rui Silvestre stands at the helm of the Restaurante Bon Bon kitchen. According to the Michelin Guide, his technique is astounding, offering «cutting-edge dishes, with distinctive flavours and careful presentation».

Bringing a breath of fresh air to Bon Bon, Rui Silvestre has surrounded himself with a team of professionals, which he refers to as 'taste partners?. «In a little over a year, I have managed to bring together people that are fundamental to the evolution of Bon Bon. My second chef, Ricardo Messias, and my pastry chef, Nádia Carrasco, are the best examples of this. We have also arranged a fantastic array of suppliers, passionate about what they do and who always teach us something new», the chef explains. Trying to make the very most of seafood, the cooking style at Bon Bon stands out for favouring Atlantic flavours, such as fish and shellfish, without forgetting organically grown vegetables from Quinta do Poial and the use of goat's cheese, Algarve citrus fruit, almond oil and also samphire. The restaurant's tasting menu has guests in a whirl, given the nine dishes it contains, with wine pairing care of Nuno Diogo, the owner of Bon Bon and, at the same time, sommelier and head of front of house.

With elegant decoration, and a cast iron fireplace as its central focus, Restaurante Bon Bon tells a story in every dish, turning the gastronomic experience in this corner of the Algarve into much more than a simple chance to eat.