Viajante – Restaurant is Now Closed

I’ve read that Michelin award the first star for the food, and the second and third for everything else.

Nuno Mendes’ food is tasty, taste bud provoking perfection on a plate. It deserves the first Michelin star.

What lets this restaurant down is the front of house staff. The staff are emotionless and robotic. I got the feeling they really didn’t want to be there, that they were just going through the motions, repeating the list of ingredients on the plate. The wines were mostly very good wines, the somellier just read out the label, each time “This is X wine, from X vineyard, made by X”. Just give us the menu at the start instead of the end and we can work it out ourselves and save the front of house staff the inconvenience of interacting with the customers.

Not one of the service staff seemed to appreciate that great food and wine need great service. The front of house staff need lessons in how to display enthusiasm and passion for the role they are playing in taking the customers on a journey of gastronomic discovery. They have the privilege of working for one of the greatest chefs in the UK, yet display the charm and manners of a late shift burger-flipper.

The courses that were served by the sous chefs were served with pride and with a joy in sharing their skills with the customers, why can the front of house not feel the same pride? It wasn’t my turn to pay the bill, but if it had been I would have refused to pay a service charge, and I’m usually a very generous tipper. That’s how badly the front of house staff let down this venue and cast a shadow over what should have been culinary heaven.

Such a shame – food and wine at this standard deserve much better.