|It's been six weeks since I posted. Six incredible, crazy, exhausting weeks during which I've been helping to prepare Viajante for the official opening which took place a week ago. We're open for business!|
Several food blogging friends of mine have already sampled what we have to offer during the past month or so and everyone seems to have enjoyed the overall experience even if, inevitably during a startup phase, not everything was perfect. Thanks to you all for putting up with the inconveniences that come with visiting an establishment during a pre-opening trial period and in particular for accepting the restrictions on publishing that applied during soft openings. I'm well aware of just how frustrating it must have been for food bloggers to eat a meal that stimulated both their intellectual and digestive juices, but which they were unable to write about. It's one of the reasons for my blog silence recently - it didn't seem fair for me to post when other food bloggers were so tightly circumscribed.
I'd like to say hello to Douglas Blyde of Intoxicating Prose who, along with the other members of his party, really appeared to enjoy his experience here the other week and who wrote a really excellent article in Glass Magazine. I thought it was a brilliant example of how a skilled columnist can overcome restrictions that would paralyse an ordinary scribbler like me, to end up with an entertaining and informative piece of writing. Next to my long-standing cyber-friends Jeanne Horak of Cook Sister! and Johanna Wagner of The Passionate Cook. I'm so pleased that you and your husband enjoyed your dining experience the Wednesday before last, Jeanne, and equally sorry that you and yours couldn't make it in the end, Johanna. I hope you'll visit us soon - we'll do our best to make up for the earlier disappointment.
|Last Saturday night my dad came to visit, accompanied by Niamh Shields of Eat Like A Girl and Patrick Carpenter of Ostrea Edulis. Apologies once more for the fact that we were still on soft openings, which had been extended for a few days - I know it was disappointing and frustrating not to be able to take photos and write up the visit. Recent focus on work has meant I've neglected some other people, so let me make amends. Firstly, apologies for my silence to my long-standing cyber-friend, The Boston Foodie.|
|Next I want to say hello to another very good friend, Aaron Langille, who started working at Comerç 24 around the time I left and with whom I spent many happy evenings and weekends eating and drinking in Barcelona. London-based American food academic and blogger Adrienne of Gastroanthropology recently ate at Noma in Copenhagen and photographed the stagières hard at work, including Aaron (second left). Those who have followed Nuno's progress from The Loft project to Viajante will know just how influential Noma has been in the development of his philosophy as a restaurateur. Ben Greeno and Clayton Wells from Noma have both been Chef in Residence at The Loft and René Redzepi has been an advisor and mentor for Viajante.|
|Hopefully, once we've fully settled into a routine (though routine is not exactly what Nuno Mendes and Viajante are about) I'll find time to blog occasionally, although it's likely to be very irregular from now on. Right now my priorities are clear and I am totally focused on the task in hand.|
|More importantly, there's simply no time for writing. Take a look at this pie chart, which shows how my time is currently divided. On a normal working day I have just one hour to get showered, dressed, breakfasted and prepared for work and the same amount of time in the small hours of each morning to catch something on TV or just flop down with a drink.|
|There's an ironic twist here. In 2006 I spent five weeks on college work placement at one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants, trekking across London each day from the East End to The Berkeley Hotel in the West End to learn something about cooking. Some time afterwards a little birdie told me that El Gordo, when told he had a young food blogger working for him, replied: "If he's got time to blog, we're obviously not giving him enough work to do." Well, Mr. Ramsay, I've got plenty enough work to do nowadays thank you, with hardly any time to blog. But it's all worth it. Ask your former protégée Marcus Wareing, now Michelin 2* chef/patron of his eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley Hotel, who trekked across London the other day from the West End to The Town Hall Hotel in the East End to experience the food at Viajante and pleasantly surprise Sabrina at the next table. It was a pleasure to cook for him, as it was also a pleasure to cook recently for the executive chefs of two of your current fine dining restaurants. Presumably they don't have enough work to keep them fully occupied these days. Touché!|
|During working hours I'm dedicated to my section, to Viajante and to our customers - the executive chefs, food writers, gastronomes, celebrities and the hundreds of ordinary people who simply love great food. What little time I have to spare outside of work is devoted to spending quality time with a very special person in my life. I hope your question is now fully answered, William.|
For those readers who never managed to pay a visit to Bacchus or The Loft and don't know about Viajante, here are the links to Viajante's official websites and online services: Viajante, Viajante Facebook, Viajante Twitter, Viajante at The Town Hall Hotel.
|So far I've seen some great comments: "the most exciting opening of the year so far", "tastebuds still singing", "spectacular meal there last night", "groovy", "masterful 12-course journey", "sublime soy jelly consommé", "Nuno's food has gone up several knocks in balance, flow and flavour", "fantastic dinner at Viajante this evening... each dish was meticulous" and (surely a bit OTT) "blew Fat Duck out of water". I especially liked: "I read that [Viajante] as Viagra at first." OK - if our food can help with your more intimate problems... we're only too pleased to help! I hope the writeups that will appear in the coming weeks now we're fully open will be as positive as these initial reviews that I've collated.|