JCT

Six courses, seven wines, four amuse-bouches, one palate cleanser and a plate of petit fours

In Food & Drink on July 12, 2011 at 10:01 pm

If anyone ever offers you vouchers amounting to a substantial sum of money for the restaurant of your choice in London in exchange for blogging about their dishwasher powder, then might I recommend Viajante?

Ever since watching The Trip last year, I’ve been determined that, somehow or other, I would have one amazing meal this year. And last night I did.

Now I’m not going to review the restaurant – without a Will Self App™ I simply don’t have enough adjectives – but show you what I had as one unashamed bit of showing off.

A bit of background on Viajante: the chef is Portuguese maestro Nuno Mendes, and the menu… well there isn’t one. You specify whether you are having six courses or twelve and then sit back and enjoy it. There is something incredibly exciting about not having the faintest idea what is going to happen next, and having each dish (and matched wine) explained in exquisite detail. Two courses in, I was practically weeping; by the end I would have offered to have any of their children, including the female maitre d’. [And after seven glasses of wine, I’m not sure that I didn’t.]

Though my husband broke out into a bit of middle class angst about me photographing every dish, I would like to point out that everyone had their iPhones out for the purpose, and the table next to us, who were in for the full 12 courses, even had zoom lenses. In fact the only table not photographing their food was the couple who arrived wearing shorts, had a very dull conversation about the man’s clearly lucrative business installing high tech telecoms systems, and left half way through complaining that the food was undercooked.

So, without further ado, let me present four amuses bouches, six courses, seven wines, one palate cleanser and a plate of petit fours. Be jealous. Be very jealous…

 

amuse-bouche #1 duck ham, thai explosion

Amuse-bouche #2 home-made cheese with peas and flowers

Amuse-bouche #3 potato bread and paprika bread (the purple butter goes with the pointy bread, the white one with the mini loaves)

Amuse-bouche #4 fresh almonds with langoustines (the langoustines are entirely concentrated in the intense brown liquid)

course #1 mackerel with lemon and sorrel (one of the powdery substances is popcorn)

wine: Casa de Cello Branco ‘Quinta de San Joanne’ vinho verde 2009

course #2 milk yuba with peas and parmesan

wine: Lis Neris, sauvignon 2008, Friuli

 

course #3 Açorda de camarão (this is apparently a traditional portuguese dish, but I’m guessing it doesn’t usually look like this)

wine: Julien Courtois ‘Autochtone’ 2009, France (Loire)

 

course #4a Bacalhau dos Mondos: confit loin with royal kombu and sea herbs

wine: quinta do Cruzeiro ‘Julia Kemper’ 2008, Dão

 

course #4b: Bacalhau dos Mundos: cod tripe with onion and crispy potato (even though its tiny, we could smell it coming from the pass)

wine: Benjamin Leroux Auxey-Duresses 2008

 

course #5 Maldonado pork loin with clams and cereals (rare black pork) – unfortunately I was so eager to tuck into this one

wine: La Rioja Alta ‘Viña Araña’ Reserva 2004, Rioja

 

palate cleanser: frozen marzipan with celery and lime

 

course #6: strawberries with pine and thyme sponge

wine: Bertrand & Lise Jousset ‘Trai d’Union’ Montlouis-sur-Loire 2009

 

petit fours (out of shot: glass of crema catalana which I ate before remembering to snap)

 

So… lots of foam, lots of textures, lots of bright colours, lots of incredibly intense flavours, lots of theatrical explanations from our waiters, lots of odd-shaped serving dishes, and some very peculiar wines that I’d never drink on their own (one of which smelt like someone had mixed cider with desert wine) but which are incredible when paired with an equally outlandish dish.

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