“Welcome to paradise” says the maitre d’ at Vila Joya (who looks like Rupert Everett, below with Anibal Coutinho) and you believe him. For this is the Michelin ** domain of super chef Dieter Koschina, clinging to the edge of Europe on the Algarve coast of Portugal.
But while the view may be towards Africa, there are no SA wines on the wine list which features vinous gems from round the world. “I love SA wines” says sommelier Miguel Martins (below) “but I can’t get them.” Which speaks volumes to the quality of the work done by WOSA over the last decade. For the Algarve is playground to Europeans and Russians with cash. On Friday night we sat next to a table of Russians who dropped E40,000 on dinner at Ocean, the Michelin ** restaurant at Vila Vita Parc, across the bay from Joya. The Russians have hired a villa for a month for E150,000 and dine out most nights. What a pity SA wines will not feature on their wine lists.