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Jul 17, 2014

The Bookshelf: a London-style hangout in the heart of Alentejo

I knew I was in the right place when, as I described the farm to which I would be moving and my satisfaction over the many rosebushes there, which would enable me to make rosewater for my mint tea, my conversation partner said "Oh, you need rosewater? I have some extra!", then fumbled around in his inventory and sent me off with half a bottle of good Algerian rosewater brought from London. I had given up on finding anything like that in the Alentejo. But then I knew it was the right place long before, with the many delicious herb teas, coffees and good food, sometimes vegetarian, offered at this very metropolitan hangout in my sleepy Portuguese university town. The couple who own and operate the business, a local woman and her Kosovar husband, lived for a few decades in London and brought some of that city's style with them to this unique café in Évora.

So when I need a quiet, air-conditioned retreat to enjoy a book, brandy and coffee or perhaps a good curry, I know where to go. And it's great to have a good chat in English about common interests in cuisine and beverages and share the latest delicious infusions of Aswan hibiscus, doum palm fruit and mint from herbs kindly provided by a colleague in Egypt. And who knows? Perhaps some of those cookies for the Portuguese will make an appearance there.

1 comment:

  1. In the time since I discovered The Bookshelf in Évora, I've found that not only is this the place for creative coffee and excellent herbal teas, fruit juices, etc. but the small-batch cuisine is also superb. I've eaten lunch there a number of times, and the vegetables are prepared in a way I experience too seldom - absolutely delicious. Now there are two places I can recommend for vegetarian friends to eat here in town (the other being Salsa Verde, which I think is still the only vegetarian restaurant in Évora).

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