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|Address:||Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NU|
|Tel:||020 7871 0461|
|Price: £111.00||Wine: £30.00||Champagne: £56.00|
|Opening Hours:||Fri-Sun 12N-2pm Wed-Sun 6-9.30pm|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
My absolute favourite set lunch is the fabulous Viajante. Weekend lunches are a more accessible way to sample Nuno Mendes' culinary skills – instead of the 9 or 12 course tasting menus which are offered in the evening (with the 12 course menu taking a whopping 4.5 hours to munch through!), weekends are a more relaxed affair with tasting menus of just 3 or 6 courses. We chose 3 courses, which was perfect for lunch, but is pretty hefty in itself as it also includes a couple of amuses, a pre-dessert and petit fours. At £25, this has to be the bargain of the century, especially as you can add well-chosen matching wines for each course for a paltry £15.
Everything, from bread and spicy whipped butter, to the brilliantly attentive service, and the theatre of watching sharply skilled chefs preparing your lunch about 2 feet away, makes for a dazzling experience. Our first course of sous vide-cooked lobster with milk skin and leek ash was challenging at first, but once we got used to the crazy ingredients, it really came together. The main course was duck two ways, one a confit, the other cooked sous vide (notice a theme?), which was earthy but elegant. Pudding showed off Mendes' skills honed at El Bulli with light as air chocolate mousse encased in a chocolate cube, with a salty chocolate ‘soil’ scattered around. It was beautiful to look at and the textures were intriguing, but I would have preferred an extra ingedient or flavour, as it was all a bit too chocolately. The highlight for me was a beauiful pre-dessert of sea-buckthorn granita. Sea buckthorn is a new one to me, but the flavour was instantly addictive, incredibly delicate but very memorable.
I can't rate the experience highly enough and am planning to return again and again. Shame about the dodgy Bethnal Green location but it only serves to make the restaurant sparkle even more. A true gem.
Top tips: start with crazy cocktails in the bar, and ask for tables 1, 2 or 3, closest to the kitchen action.