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Petrus restaurant

On a cold rainy November evening, for a birthday meal, we drove east to the Town Hall Hotel which houses Viajante, a newish restaurant in Bethnal Green, chef Nuno Mendes.

It was to be our first trip in the new car but … flat battery, so that didn’t happen. Switching cars and running late, the traffic was crawling – what is it with people, cars and rain? Eventually got there an hour late to find the hotel’s wheelchair lift was outside and no-one could find the key! As I sat, waiting, freezing, with rain dripping down my forehead and nose, listening to a party inside, I was really not feeling the happy vibe …

Eventually, we got in and, after a few drinks, my happy rushed back in and it was … good. Umm, sounds a bit underwhelming, no?

Well, yeah, but I think it was us. It was a nice room, slightly Nordic in style but comfy and decent space. The menu – there wasn’t one to start – you just specify allergies, likes, dislikes and choose 6, 9 or 12 courses. 12 courses takes up to 4.5 hours … and we definitely didn’t have that! We took 9 and it was a good 9. We had eaten a few years back at Bacchus in Hoxton – a bar/restaurant with Nuno Mendes as chef – and the food was recognizably similar but better, I’d say. It’s kinda Blumenthal lite and having eaten at The Fat Duck this year, this did pale a bit in comparison. They do give you a menu at the end to take away and I guess part of the experience is having the staff talk you through it all as you go - they were great fun, friendly, interested in the food and the experience for you. They also escorted me to the outside lift at the end, got the key quickly, kept me dry … were really nice …

Maybe it was better than good … definitely better value for money than The Fat Duck … perhaps without the flat battery, traffic, rain and cold parts of the evening, it might’ve been great. I think … should I try it again, maybe?

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