Viajante – LondonPosted: June 19, 2010
We were told by our chef friends that their London friend thought Viajante was a hot place. It is in a lovely old government building that has been transformed into a hotel, on the east end of London. You would never expect it to be there. Only 40 seats – hard to get in. We opted for the tasting menu WITH the wine pairing, and had by far the most creative meal of the trip. No menu is presented; each course is a surprise.
Canape: Crostini with olive and garlic. Handmade, crisp and flavorful.
Amuse Bouche 1 + 2: Jellied consomme with “set” soy milk, eggplant caviar on flatbread. I could not replicate this at home! Chicken confit with cracker (to die for) -coconut wafer with chicken skin, quail egg and thai spice. Sweet and spicy, and great. (forgot to photo this)
First course: Squid Tartare with radish and frozen ink jous, fresh dill, sunflower seeds and mushrooms. Served with Contours Reisling from Australia. (Wife found this dish a bit weird – I thought it was perfect).
Second Course: 3 Textures of Beets: Roasted, pickled, pureed, with whipped goat’s milk curd, chickwee and apple. Served with Grand Cru Belgian Cherry Beer, aged 3 years in the bottle. I hate beets, and beer, and these were the best beets I’ve ever tasted, and the beer was good too!
Fourth Course: Skatewing (fish) served with cauliflower coulis, yeast foam, gnocchi, and fish broth poured at table, by the chef. Served with Pares de Balta Blanc de Pacs – Catalan wine made from classic Cava grape varietals, Macabeo, Xarel.lo, and Parellada. Superb. I don’t know if we can buy this wine here, but we would!
Extra Course: The chef saw me photographing the food and taking notes, so he thought we might like an extra course! This was Yoghurt puree with ginger, grated pistachio and lime zest, and olive soup. The best course of the night! Intense flavor that just made my eyes roll.
Fifth Course: Jacob’s Ladder: A short rib braised for 24 hours, with fennel, enoki mushroom and veggie broth (again poured at table). Served with Chateau Masar, a from an 80-year old Lebanese winery – a blend of Cab, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache and Mourvedre.
[Nine course envy]: If you can believe it, we are seeing the courses we are MISSING go out, and we are beginning to have nine-course envy, having merely ordered the six-course tasting. By the time we are done, we’ve eaten 12 different things here! Palate Cleanser: Lemon and Thai basil sorbet.
Treat: A post-dessert: Semi-set creme brulee with lemon gels, and chocolate truffle with mushroom. Sounds crazy, but it totally worked.
The chefs work right in front of the house, and plate with tweezers. It was an incredible experience. If you are in London, and can get in to Viajante, I certainly recommend it!