Viajante is now closed

It was time for the ‘Company’ Christmas party, but in true Mr Smith style it was not like any other Christmas party going on.  My own company is allowed to have a xmas party and as a result I could take my ‘Mrs Smith’ along to it.

I had booked myself in to The Town Hall Hotel, again, and after trying to work out the best place to go I got us booked in to Viajante, which is very conveniently located in the hotel.  Given the weather on the night that was a damn good thing.  After making the booking my main employer announced a big celebration Christmas party, but I had to decline as I was not going to miss the chance of going to my own style of party.

I managed to get to the hotel at a reasonable time, finished off the work I had to do and then had a quick swim.  When I say swim I mean lounge about in the pool.

Mrs Smith was due at 6.30, but as per normal work was making that a bit tricky, so just before 7 she arrived.  We went straight up to the room and had the little bottle of Champagne the hotel had provided, which I was very grateful for.  After a chill out and relaxation it was time to head to the restaurant.

I was really looking forward to eating at one of the restaurants rated in the top 100 in the world.  I know that list is very subjective, but all of the ones I have been to on it have been bloody excellent so I had high hopes.

This was always going to be something very new for Mrs Smith.  She has always been amazed how I can eat so many dishes in one night, but I knew she would love the experience.

We were going for the 6 course tasting menu, but as with all these things they never turn out to be 6 courses.  There were 14 dishes in the end, all of which were stunning.  As for wine, it just had to be the matched wine.  We would have not had a clue where to start with trying to do it ourselves, so over to the sommelier’s decisions on that.

We sat down and were asked if there was anything we do not like or allergic to and both quickly said no, we will eat anything.  Mrs Smith is a perfect dinning partner.  The waiter informed us that we would get the menu at the end of dinner.  That is something I am used to, but not sure what Mrs Smith thought at that time though, but she is up for trying new food experiences.  When we did get the menu at the end of the evening there was a really good touch, we had one each and as we had different champagnes to drink they had made them personal by making sure that only the champagne we had was on our menu.

I really am going to have to apologise for some of the pictures.  The light was really not good for hand holding a camera and I refuse to use a flash as I think that just disturbs and annoys other dinners.  Under normal circumstances I would not show anyone some of these, but I want to record the journey through the meal.  Plus, I was enjoying it so much I really was just pointing and shooting.

The Menu
The Restaurant
Ameijoa bulhao pato
Parsnip, Vanilla and roe in an Oreo
Amaranth with sorrel
Yeast and Potatoes

The title of this dish does not really cover it, the Iberico (I think) Ham with it was amazing

Gordal olive soup

This was the most intense green olive taste I have ever had

Potato bread and Sourdough with Iberico Ham

The potato bread with the home made butter with little pieces of Ham was really nice, but the sourdough with Iberico ham inside it was absolutely divine.  Mrs Smith even commented that she now knows what gets me really excited, bread!

Dried Scallop with Lactose and Scurvy Grass, served with a 2011 Hungarian  wine from Tokaj
Carrot with buttermilk and horseradish, service with Monte Cruz Antao Vaz 2011, Alentejo

Basically, this is Carrots that have had the carrot taste cranked up to 11

Halibut with cauliflower and toasted rice with Jurgen Houws ‘Intellego’ Chenin Blanc 2011 from Swartland

This was the wine that I think best shows why you should try and match wine with food.  The wine in it’s own right was very nice, not the best of the selection when drunk on it’s own (although not in anyway bad), but when tasted with the food the whole character of it changed and became a stunning wine to perfectly match with the food

Lobster and braised chicken skin with Benjamin Romeo ‘Predicator’ 2009, Rioja
Iberico pluma with fermented leeks and walnuts with Te Whare Ra Syrah 2010 from Marlborough

Now, there is obviously a slight issue with this picture, in that I had eaten the dish.  I got a bit carried away.  Nuno Mendes, the head chef, was delivering the food to the table for this one and I could smell it as he approached, and it smelt incredible.  He explained the dish to us and I asked about the fermented leeks and found out they are fermented for 6 weeks, but while talking all I could do was smell the food and it just drew me in.

As soon as I finished Mrs Smith asked if I took a picture, and I genuinely thought I had, but in my excitement and desire to eat I forgot so you all you get is what was left, nothing!

Cucumber with reduced milk

The was a lovely pallet cleanser.  Not exactly sure what the spicing was in it, but it tasted like there were slight hints of cumin and mustard seeds

Milk with Kamoizumi KomeKome ‘Happy Bride’ Sake, Hiroshima

According to the waiter, his exact words when presenting the dish, “This is what we call Milk’!  At that point we tucked in, not really knowing what it was, but part way through the dish I said to Mrs Smith that I think it is dehydrated milk skin.  So as soon as we finished and the waited arrived I asked what it was and he confirmed that it was exactly that.  Mrs Smith could not believe it and I had a smug grin on my face 🙂

Petits Fours

There were 2 more Petits Fours, but when they were brought over we had to eat the other 2 straight away as they had been in Nitrogen and needed eating quickly, so no picture

So, all in all our 6 course dinner was 14 dishes.  Mrs Smith has now totally come round to the idea of tasting menus, the whole experience of so many flavours and combinations takes a lot of beating.  If you are able to put your faith in the chef and eat what they prepare you can open up a whole world of food, that you would never normally try and if you can have the matched wines to go with them your tastebuds can be in for a real treat.

My sort of Xmas party and Mrs Smith agreed, and considering she goes to lots of parties and some amazing restaurants that is a sign of a great night.

I know I am going to be staying at the Town Hall again and just hope that one day I can do another night in Viajante

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