what the critics say
Sunday, February 05, 2012 - The problem with surprises is that not all of them are nice. A pink macaroon flavoured with Iberico ham served as a petit four is a complete surprise. It's definitely not a nice one. When you are left thinking: 'I wish that had been lemon or raspberry or anything other than this'...Modern techniques are great. They're brilliant. If you want to cook my steak by banging it round the Large Hadron Collider, be my guest. Dehydrate my pig cheeks. Spherify my nuts. But only do so if the result tastes nicer. At Viajante deliciousness is too often forced to give way to cleverness. And that really is the biggest surprise of all.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - It's an adventure, for sure: whole roasted broad bean pod, filled with its peeled beans and Sao Jorge cheese. Sensational baguettes, looking like seaweed wracks, with almost caramelly butter whipped with roast chicken skin and nubs of crisp Iberico ham...Presentation is painstaking, exquisite, as are specially made plates, especially a vast, rounded pebbly item balancing raw scallops with pickled cucumber: it appears to be made of sparkling ice.
Really enjoyed this restaurant. My wife and I had the nine-course tasting menu accompanied by matched wines (and one fantastic glass of Ice Cider from Quebec - hadn't come across this before and thought it was marvellous).
Highlights included the "Lemon and thai basil" pre-dessert sorbet. Intensely perfumed and delicious. Also a clever-but-lovely dish involving strawberries and tomatoes. A genuine feeling of passion in the etymology of the dishes.
Lamb was served fractionally too rare for my tastes, and fish courses dominated the main dishes (two veg, three fish, two meat) -- for some that is ideal, but I'd prefer a meatier balance.
Service was good, with friendly and informative staff. Overall, a strong recommendation.
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Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Pros: the food is amazing and the Nuno's passion and enthusiasm for his food comes across strongly, making this an immensely personal dining experience. Each plate contains a delicate balance of flavour and texture. It's interesting to see how much some reviewers have gone into great details describing the food and there are many passionate arguments over which dishes work and which didn't. The fact that Nuno's menu have generated so much conversation speaks volume of the complexity of his food.
Cons: it was a bad night - the service was delayed by a couple of large groups and change of menu. 9 courses tasting course took over 4 hours to complete (9pm to 1am) and i could hardly keep awake by the end of it. The staff and Nuno himself apologised over the delay and took service charge off the bill.
Overall verdict: Despite the rather horrendous delay over my 9 course tasting meal (many fellow diners asked for the bill before the petit fours were served), I will definitely return. The meal took gastronomic experience to a different level (I find myself thinking about food very differently after the meal). Highly recommended.
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Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
Thursday, June 03, 2010
what the bloggers say
Gourmet Chick - 6/10
Monday, July 18, 2011 - My meal at Viajante was a very mixed experience and in no way achieved the giddy heights of my previous meals cooked by Mendes...Mackerel with lemon and sorrel tasted almost as bad as it looked. The raw mackerel took on a slimy texture coated in a green pond like substance. While not offensive, milk yuba with peas and parmesan was merely a milky foam with limited flavour and interest.
Tamarind and Thyme
Sunday, July 25, 2010 - Our main course was listed as Lemon sole, confit egg, asparagus and tapioca and it was Nuno Soares himself who came out to explain the dish to us and to personally spoon on the tapioca sauce at the table. On the plate was the panfried fillet of sole with a lovely mixture of grilled asparagus alongside and shaved asparagus on top and a glorious confit egg yolk...The arrival of a Lemon and Thai basil sorbet signified the end of the savoury dishes. I loved the aniseedy punch of the basil in this very smooth sorbet. The lemon though didn't come through as strongly.
Cheese and Biscuits - 7/10
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - Perhaps, despite my misgivings, London needs restaurants like Viajante. Certainly, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been served eight courses for £25 and even though some of them were irritatingly pretentious and put presentation ahead of flavour you do at least feel like you're getting your money's worth, especially considering the backbreaking effort that's gone into them.
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