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Monday, February 6, 2012

Viajante - take 2

Amaranth with sorrel, crab croquette, "Thai explosion II"
Cured sea bass with vanilla cauliflower
Young potato with yeast and black olive
Mini baguettes with chicken skin and pancetta infused butter
Bacon flatbread with herb butter
Rainbow trout with vegetable noodles
Roasted celeriac with homemade ricotta and lemon thyme
Cod loin with a stew of tripe, parsley and potato 
Squab with red cabbage and caraway
Viajante olive
Pickled and raw cucumber with reduced milk sorbet
Mandarin Dondurma
Petit fours (chocolate truffels on biscuit crumbs)
LOCATION: Viajante, Town Hall Hotel Patriot Square, London
CATEGORY: Modern European, tasting menu
DRINK: Pre-dinner cocktail: Shiso lovely (gin cocktail with shiso), sparkling water and beverage pairing:
Sake: Dassai Ni-wari San-bu Junmai Daiginjo, white wines: Escoda-Sanahuja "Els Bassotets" 2010, Conca de Barbera and Filipa Pato "Nossa" 2010, Beiras and Au bon Climat "Wild Boy" Chardonnay 2009, Santa Barbara, red wine: Clos Ouvert "Loncomilla" Carmenère 2008, Valle de Maule (Chile), 
Dessert wine: F. Haag "Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr" Riesling Spätlese 2009, Mosel
WE THINK: We were a little embarrassed about the shitty photos we took here last time (first generation iPhone) which didn't do justice to the beautiful dishes (neither do the above ones, frankly), but we were also curious to see how Viajante would hold up a year on--now with a Michelin star--so we decided to pay a second visit. The tasting menu is still good, though it's actually not as great as we remembered it. It was a little hit and miss. Like, the breads and butters were really remarkable, as was the cod loin and the cucumber dessert. We also really enjoyed the small starters and the celeriac. But the other dishes were forgettable and the young potato with yeast pretty much just tasted like yeast, which we don't think is a good thing. The 'Viajante olive' was presented with great fanfare and an instruction by our waiter to "guess the taste". It turned out to have the texture of a poached egg and was made of gelatinous kumquat wrapped in spinach jelly with fennel seeds (get it? It's a surprise because the olive isn't actually an olive, nor does it taste like olive). It was a bit silly and dated and wasn't very delicious. Nuño Mendes, the celebrated head chef, had a day off this evening, though this really shouldn't matter. Again, not to say that our dinner wasn't good, but Viajante is also expensive, so it's a matter of expectations. We wanted to choose our own wines from the extensive wine list, but the sommelier had only been working at Viajante for a week and wasn't familiar with that many of them, so we decided to go for the beverage pairing. This, like the food, was a little hit and miss, but we certainly had enough alcohol to get pretty tipsy and happy, so we left on a high note. 

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