I spoke with the owners of Cult n’ Art Café, Léna Pérez and Marcelino Marques to hear more about their exciting joint venture. “It was an unexpected venture, the space was originally Marcelino’s grandmothers house and the space was rented for the last 10 years but due to the pandemic, the opportunity presented itself which we jumped on and with the help of our friends we renovated the whole place and really made it our own.”

Lena was born in France and studied in Switzerland but made her first internship here at Vila Joya in the Algarve, where she met Marcelino six years ago as they were working in hospitality together. Marcelino is half German, half Portuguese and has grown up in Alvor, “we have seen the world, but Alvor is always where we come back to.”

The Cult n’ Art Café main purpose lies in “creating an immersive and constantly evolving venue whilst giving visibility to local talented artists as well as great local products in a space you can count on to unwind.” They told me that prior to opening the café, they were backpacking around the world, “including in India which is a big foundation for what we are doing here and a source of inspiration for the café and that the alterative concept of the space, pushes us to grow and be creative and that is really important to us.”

The Café is open 9am until 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 9am until 1pm on Sunday. The Café opened in July and has certainly made an impact on the local community with their newly decorated space and delicious food. The Café is frequented by different nationalities as there are no language barriers at the café as Lena speaks French and Marcelino speaks German and they can both speak English and Portuguese and they told me they feel very grateful to have all different nationalities coming to their café.

They serve unique breakfast and snack foods including fruit and granola bowls, salads, toasts and their popular ‘prego’ which is a garlic steak sandwich and an Israeli breakfast dish called Shakshuka, which is a poached egg in a spicy tomato and bell pepper sauce, accompanied by garlic bread. They have a variety of beverages including organic and fair-trade coffee and Why Not Craft Soda as well as homemade cakes and biscuits made by Léna. They also have traditional vinho de talha wine from Granja Amareleja, in the Alentejo which is something unique they wanted to incorporate on to their menu. Marcelino assured me that “they care about quality and all their products are fresh from the market everyday so they have different dishes depending on the seasons and plan to experiment with the menu and see what fits really well here, which we have found with Shakshuka.”

I asked the couple, where the idea to incorporate art and artisanal products came from and Léna told me “We though how cool it would be to expose our friends work and other people that need a bit of visibility, such as artists and artisans. We decided it would be an exposition space for them and we do what we do best which food, beverages and making people happy through our service.” Marcelino added that “It is really nice as well for local people to have a space to show their work because I think we have so much talent down here in the Algarve and we do not need to go outside this region to get things in because we have so many brilliant minds around us.”

Additionally, all the art displayed in their café is from local artists, and some of the pieces are for sale upon enquiry, they even have a wall dedicated to Marcelino’s grandmother’s wonderful art as well as art pieces from Alvor based artists, a talented young artist from Lagoa and an artist from Portimão. They already have a list of artists whose work will be exhibited next as they change the pieces every couple of months. They also love supporting local artisans and they have a wide range of handcrafted products available at their concept store including jewellery, soaps, natural incense, candles, cosmetics, homemade liqueurs and black pork from Monchique. Léna explained that “it is also a way for people who visit the café, to take a real souvenir home with them as they are really good quality products.” If any local artists or artisans are interested in showing their work at the café, please do not hesitate to get in touch with them.

To keep up to date with Cult n’ Art Café please see their Facebook page by searching Cult n’ Art Café – Concept Store and you can head over to their Instagram to find out their cake and juice of the day at @cultnartcafe. It is important to note that the café will be closed between the 19th and 31st of this month and will be re-opening on the 1st of November. Additionally, for more information or if anyone is interested in doing their workshops or events at Cult n’ Art Café, you can get in touch with Léna and Marcelino by emailing cultnartcafe@gmail.com or by calling them on (+351) 965 591 114.