Viajante had long been on my restaurant to-do list and I was disappointed that I never had the chance to go when it closed at the end of February. A few weeks ago, I finally able to try Nuno Mendes’ fabulous cuisine at his new restaurant Chiltern Firehouse
, which was an absolutely fantastic experience.
When I heard on the twitter grapevine that another ex-Viajante chef, Leandro Carreira, would be running a pop-up at the One Leicester Street hotel I was excited to accept an invitation to come along with a group of fellow foodies…
We started with a drink at hotel bar, The Talented Mr Fox.
My photo doesn’t do the place justice. It’s a cosy and intimate little bar…not a airport waiting area….
Matt Whiley is the mixologist behind bar and he has a great reputation for his skill in reinventing old classics. He even serves a Bloody Mary that includes actual pig’s blood. So after a pint of pig’s blood (not really I couldn’t quite bring myself to try it…) we headed downstairs to Leandro’s supper club.
This is the way I like to be greeted! But unfortunately they weren’t all for me…
A communal table was set up for us and the other ten guests dining at the supper club.
Every one was looking forward to the tasting menu with eager anticipation.
We started with a few canapes.
Fried clams; or a kind of crisp made from fried clam juice. Sorry to be simplistic, but they reminded my of my old school lunch box favourite crisps, Skips! And they were every bit as enjoyable as the classic prawn cocktail flavoured snack.
Whey meringues with trout roe and herbs were an incredibly inventive dish served by the man himself. It was certainly the first time I’ve tasted the combination of fish with meringue.
Leo grew up in Portugal before travelling through Europe and then spending 10 years cooking acclaimed kitchens, including in the Basque country. It is this background that very much influences his cooking.
We took our seats at the table and we were presented with some incredible bread.
Barley sourdough to be exact.
Starter was peas and ricotta. The flavour had been extracted from the peas and served as a juice meaning the pea flavour was incredibly intense. Each course was served with an accompanying drink and this one was paired with a pea infused wine. I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of the pea wine and I gave mine to one of my companions who was in seventh heaven drinking the product derived from the little green vegetable.
Next up was a perfectly cooked langoustine; the little splodge of almond milk made the perfect accompaniment.
White asparagus cleansed the palate nicely.
Monkfish with alliums was delicious and smoky. The dish of the day for all of us.
A simple but fabulous salad of morel mushrooms.
The main event was a sous-vided piece of pork. I’m not a big meat eater, and I thought I’ll just try a bite…
But I got swept up in the delicious salty flavour of the pork and I ended up eating the whole thing!
Plus the accompanying drinks and constant top ups were making me a little tipsy…
Finally, dessert was thinly sliced pears served on caramel. A wonderfully sweet note to end a fantastic tasting menu experience.
Leo’s supper club was an amazing and unique culinary adventure and I hope he’ll be occupying a permanent space in London soon! I’ll keep you posted on that one.