Thursday 19 May 2016

Review: Didi Vegan Cafe in Albufeira, Portugal

We recently got back from a holiday in Portugal. I’d only been to Portugal once before when I was around six or seven and had a very vivid memory of cutting my food on a loose tile in the pool. Apparently this is a memory I stole from my younger sister because it was her foot, not mine, that suffered an injury. According to my dad, I then spent the rest of the holiday vigorously checking the swimming pool for signs of loose tiles. You can only imagine how fun I am to go away with.

We booked our holiday in January, nothing makes me book a holiday quite like the misery that is the post-Christmas comedown. It’s just such a depressing time of year, isn’t it? The perfect time for booking holidays. I didn’t want to fly in my third trimester, so we decided to go in early May. We flew the day before my 30th birthday because it seemed like a nice idea to spend my 30th sunbathing on a beach. Obviously, this was before I knew how terrible the weather in Portugal would be. I think my birthday was cloudy, but I can’t remember if it rained or not (it probably did).

Before we went, I had a look for vegan eateries in the area we were staying in and found one a couple of miles away in Albufeira. The original plan was to eat there on my birthday but alas, the weather was bad so we waited for a sunnier day. In the end, we chose the perfect day to go. Didi vegan cafe is a short walk from the beach so after filling up on vegan food, we spent the rest of the day enjoying the glorious weather on Albufeira beach.

Our airport transfer driver laughed when we asked him about vegan cafes, he didn’t think we’d be able to find much vegan food in Albufeira. Never trust your airport transfer driver, they are crazy, there is loads of vegan food in Albufeira, the supermarkets there are as well stocked with vegan products as UK supermarkets.

Didi cafe was really easy to find, tucked away on a sunny side street in Albufeira’s Old Town. The cafe is nice and colourful, immediately attracting your attention from the street. We decided to sit outside because it was a nice day.

I had spent most of the holiday wishing I could eat croissants. We used to go away quite a lot when we were younger and the morning ritual would always be fresh croissants with jam and butter. The shop at our apartment complex had croissants (not vegan, obviously) and I found myself staring longingly at them most morning. I cannot describe the joy I felt when we arrived at Didi vegan cafe to find out they served vegan croissants every day. The only vegan croissants I’ve eaten are the Jus Rol ones, which are really good but incredibly tiny. Like, magnifying glass tiny. Why are they so small? I have never seen a normal croissant so small. Anyway, I am pleased to report that the croissants at Didi cafe were not small. They were croissant-sized and they were amazing. Seriously, so good. I cannot express just how much joy a good vegan croissant can make to a pregnant women, but it’s a lot.

Before I go on, please don’t judge me for how much I ate at the cafe. Remember, I am pregnant so it’s almost certainly fine to eat enough to feed an elephant. Until this baby is born, I won’t know for sure that it is not an elephant and I don’t want to take any risks. So, anyway, after the mouth-wateringly delicious croissant, I had a pie. It was more of a pasty really, filled with broccoli and leek. It was really tasty and came with a really good side salad that reminded me of the side salads they used to serve at Cafe Kino when I lived in Bristol.

After the pie, I was pretty full, but then I found out about the desserts. Oh god. I really wanted a cheesecake so I went in to have a peek at what was on offer. They did have a cheesecake it turned out, but the cheesecake was next to a lemon mousse, so I had that instead. These were individual desserts and I honestly don’t know how to describe how good the lemon mousse was. If there was ever a food that could right wrongs, it was this. It tasted like the lemon roulade my parents used to buy for dinner parties (yeah, mum and dad, it was me who used to eat all the roulade. Soz). It was creamy and amazing and I was 80% terrified that maybe it wasn’t vegan because it tasted so much like the lemon desserts of my youth. But it’s ok, it was vegan, no need to panic. I have thought about it daily since. It was definitely worth the rainy holiday just to eat that amazing mousse. There is no photo of the lemon mousse because it was so good that I ate it all immediately. Sorry.

We all ate quite a lot and the bill only came to about €50 which I thought was really cheap. The staff were really lovely (I think they were the owners, in fact). It was a really nice cafe and was quite busy by the time we left. The only disappointment was that they didn’t have any vegan ice-cream in (this is crazy, no?). Apparently they start serving ice-creams in June so we were a little early. Having spent a lot of time in the rain, I can see why, but Ebony was disappointed that she didn’t get a vegan ice-cream to eat on the beach (next time I probably won’t promise this unless I know it’s a definite).

The croissants were so good that we ended up going back for breakfast a few days later. If we’d been closer, I would have eaten there every morning. I managed to eat three croissants in one sitting which I thought was pretty impressive but Laurie and my sister both looked horrified. Don’t stand between a pregnant woman and her vegan croissants.

Didi Vegan Cafe is located on Travessa Cais Herculano 11, Albufeira. The restaurant is open daily from 10am until 9:30pm and is closed on Sundays. It is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. If you do go, please buy me some croissants. And a lemon mousse.

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