Let’s deal with the name first. A tribulum is a farm tool from Roman times. The owners of this stylish new eaterie, Jonnie Pratt and Justin O’Hanlon, are farmers on a small scale, growing their own herbs, fruit and vegetables… fresh is a vital ingredient in their repertoire.
Jonnie, Executive Head Chef is five-star all the way and his passion, knowledge and experience are evident in every dish that comes out from the kitchen. Justin is the wine man, a sommelier of more than a decade who works closely with importers and local producers to present the perfect pairings. Backing the two in the restaurant, stylishly wrought from what was Don Camillo, are Susannah Schofield OBE and Derek Thornton.
There’s a bit of 2020 history, too. Shortly after signing the lease, the world was plunged into global lockdown due to the pandemic and plans had to be adapted fast… and carefully. No Contact Catering was launched, delivering high-quality meals to clients at home. The venture was a big success – no surprise there – and when restrictions lifted, Contact Catering emerged and the focus was on the restaurant and the refurbishment of the building.
Tribulum opened many months later than planned and is gaining attention and customer loyalty fast. Lockdown increased interest in food, and especially that from a acknowledged expert in good taste.
OK, we’ve done the name, the people, the history. Now the menu, which is always adventurous, always defined, and always using the best from field to fork.
Even the basic bread is anything but basic and comes with flavoured butter, carrot purée and pumpkin seed pesto. Among the line up of starters is roast beef marrow bone served with focaccia toasts and a wild mushroom cappuccino with porcini powder and truffle oil. Like chicken? you’ll love the ‘lollipops’ with a side of truly delicious homemade sweet chilli sauce.
But don’t overdo it – the choice of mains is impressive and covers almost every taste and like. Crisp pork belly that comes with black pudding and apple mash; roast duck with roast fig and port wine jus; homemade pumpkin and cheese ravioli; orange and tarragon poached salmon. You’ll want to try everything – the ribeye is spectacular and the lavender crème brulée not to be missed. Decisions, decisions… just book again for the following week… and the one after that.
Currently the restaurant can seat 70; when restrictions ease, the capacity will increase, and with the 6,500m2 site, the boys already have big plans in place.
Tribulum is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner; the cocktails are a treat.
R. Cristóvão Pires Norte, 8135-117 Almancil / T: 289 397 784 / @tribulumalgarve