Viajante, Nuno Mendes
I have been fortunate enough to visit Viajante on 2 occasions taking in the summer food and the winter. The first experience was fantastic but the second was another few steps on from that. My most recent meal was to celebrate my engagement to Rhiain, and what a celebration it was. Nuno Mendes cooking is brilliant, unique, natural, and flavour driven with fantastic textures, temperatures and real purity of flavour. Unexpected Asian influences add depth to the dishes and are done in subtle ways to enhance the fantastic produce on offer. For instance the Langoustine smoked over rosemary which is advised you eat with your hands is served with a great Sake (dewazakura junmai daiginjo, yamagata-ken to be precise) with a floral peachy finish. The braised salmon skin with fried aubergine puree is taken that that little bit further by finishing with Dashi at the table. Meeting Nuno was a pleasure, he welcomes you into his restaurant and makes you feel relaxed, he takes the time to make sure all the guests feel comfortable and totally at ease.
This was one of my food highlights of the year.