I visited Olives Restaurant back in May (see here) and visiting Funchal again, it was a no brainer where to go for lunch.
We got a great welcome off owner Luis Oliveira, who showed us to the same table, as we sat at in May, with views of the terrace outside, the ocean and our cruise ship Oriana, whose bow we could just make out.
Luis was happy to tell me, that he had three vegan wines from Ribafreixo, all registered with The Vegan Society, a great move both by Luis and the vineyard, so much easier for vegan and vegetarian customers. I ordered the rose wine, a beautiful pink colour and delicious to drink whilst perusing the menu.
I ordered mushroom and cashew salad, as a vegan option, not realising it was served warm, with mini corn cakes and tomatoes. Luis's presentation is always topnotch and appealing to the eye and the dish was an excellent choice.
I then had a vegan version of the vegetarian filo parcel dish, its stunning presentation, topped with a paper thin wafer on top, filled with finely shredded sauteed vegetables was outstanding. Apparently the filo pastry contained egg, so Luis made this specially and how he created the shape I have no idea, its a trade secret, it was crisp, light and added texture to the dish. The main component was chickpea flour cooked like wet polenta, layered with roast vegetables and pesto, wow it was good and how inventive.
I was too full for pudding, although there was Luis's famous apple crumble and sorbet on offer (mentioned several times on Olives Tripadvisor reviews). I finished with a coffee and complimentary shot of Triple Sec and hope to sample the crumble next visit.
Luis is so enthusiastic about his vegan cooking, he said he found it challenging for him as a chef, instead of vegetarian and I take my hat off to him for his interest. Apparently there is a growing vegan community in Madeira, so how lucky are they, to have Olives to dine and be looked after by the ever conscientious Luis, who knows what vegan means.
I cannot recommend Olives highly enough and I will definitely be back, when next in Madeira.