Ines Obykhod — Restaurant Business at the Tips of Woman’s Fingers
Ines Obykhod is a myth-buster and super-efficient owner of Pearl’Amour restaurant/bar. At the same time, it seems that she does all this easily and with a smile.
Ines, how did you get into the restaurant business?
All dreams come from childhood. And of course, my love for the kitchen played a decisive role. However, I started to do something not so long ago. Having lived for a year and a half in the area where I later opened a restaurant, I noticed that, unfortunately, you couldn’t find a single restaurant nearby where you could have a delicious dinner, or drink a bottle of excellent wine or good draft beer. Then the idea began to creep into my head. It was the idea about investing in this area and opening a restaurant with traditional Portuguese cuisine, adding a little variety to the menu.
I remember once I told my mother that I would definitely open a seafood restaurant here with an exquisite interior and delicious unique food, and the Universe heard me — my cherished dream came true.
Is the restaurant business for women?
Yes, for strong women. A restaurant is about hospitality, convenience, feelings, about everything that a woman gives.
Please tell us about the concept of Pearl’Amour restaurant/bar. How did the idea for the name come about, how is the menu compiled and who was the author of the restaurant’s interior?
Pearl’Amour means “Glamourous Pearl”, but to add elegance to the name, we have lost the letter “G” and got the “Pearl of Love”. This is one of the reasons.
Another reason why our place got its name is that I own the nursing home “Golden Pearls”. And I thought it was a good idea to give my business a similar name.
Everything that I imagined about glamour, sophistication, and subtlety, I introduced into the design of this restaurant. The design of furniture is made in detail by me under the order. For example, the legs of chairs and tables are framed in gold, two chic chandeliers add romance to the area in which they are located. The black and gold interior gives luxury and chic to the establishment, and the emerald-colored furniture emphasizes glamor and tranquility, the harmony of beauty and relaxation with great energy, where you can have a delicious meal and enjoy a glass of chic wines or fine cocktails.
This restaurant is completely my project, so I also thought over the menu personally.
What is the most difficult and most enjoyable part of running a restaurant for you?
The beautiful thing is the complexity of this business, which makes it develop and react rapidly. This is a huge field for learning and improvement. And, of course, emotions: you create a certain product and see an instant reaction to it, in a restaurant you have the opportunity to personally know your consumer.
The most important and difficult thing in my work is to create a team of like-minded people who will work not only for money but also for an idea. I am a perfectionist by nature, and it is crucial for me that the guests who come to the restaurant feel comfortable and tasty, and that they leave us in a good mood. This can be achieved only by working in a well-coordinated team.
What, in your opinion, is its peculiarity and uniqueness?
As everyone knows, in Portugal it is very rare to visit a restaurant with a chic interior. There are many restaurants with good food, but the decor in most cases leaves much to be desired. I wanted to create something new, refined and unique. And it seems that I succeeded.
Guests come to the restaurant admiring the interior and enjoying our cuisine. And most importantly, they are satisfied. After all, I strive for perfection in everything: a beautiful environment, creativity in the presentation of dishes, high-class service, and, of course, delicious food!
What dishes are the most popular in your restaurant and can be called its hallmark?
One of our more sought-after dishes is the Pearl’Amour steak, served with a special sauce I invented. Also, our guests love to order Picanha with pineapple and Secretos de porco preto (a grilled dish from a special pig race), and everyone loves our pasta with truffle and risotto.
Not to mention bruschetta with salmon or with tomatoes and mozzarella, which we recommend complementing the unforgettable taste with champagne and red berry sangria.
The dessert that has become the hallmark of the restaurant is, of course, the “Divine Napoleon with Cherry Syrup” cake, in the recipe of which I added my secrets.
How do you manage to maintain the optimal balance between price and quality?
We adhere to several principles: do not be greedy, do not try to make money today — always think about the future, love what you do, and treat guests the way you would like to be treated. Sounds trite, but it really works. I love my job, I cry when something doesn’t work out the way I wanted, I jump with delight if everything worked out, I love creating a festive mood, I love communicating with people, and I love it so much because it’s me and my restaurant. But the main thing is the people who work with me. Thanks to them, without them I would not have been able to create all this. They are both my responsibility and support. I value those whom I took to my team, so I am always there.
They say that the owners of the restaurant have a sweet life. But we know it’s all hard work. Tell us how your day starts and how it continues. How do you manage to do everything?
As for my workload and daily routine, it’s like a joke: “A person was asked how he has time for everything. The man replied: “You know, I don’t have time!”. This is completely about me. It happens that I spend the whole day and evening at work because restaurant life absorbs me completely. But I try to find time for myself and for sports.
Often people who are passionate about work completely abandon themselves. But looking at you, you can’t even think about it. What is your secret to good form?
Sport, mode, and relaxation complement each other. I switched to healthy food, and I see how my body and my skin are grateful for it. Another secret is the sleep pattern, which I try to control. Good sleep is my productivity and condition for the whole day. During quarantine, I started doing yoga and I love how it makes me feel — my mental and physical condition is great! And I learned to rest — to allow myself to switch off, to give time to recover.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
In the near future, we plan to complement the atmosphere of the restaurant with light music or a DJ play. I also want to make a bar where visitors can smoke hookah in a cozy, relaxing atmosphere. We already offer a portable mobile hookah to our guests, but we also want to make a big hookah bar. There are very few places like this in Portugal.
And, of course, we plan to expand. I’m not going to stop there, so the main goal is to create a whole chain of restaurants.