You know you are not in a ‘normal’ ‘underground restaurant’ when the chef repeatedly prepares his dishes sous-vide or by vacuum/ slow cooking. You know you are not in a ‘normal’ ‘underground restaurant’ when the meal proceeds completely to pace with no undue delays or panics. You know you are not in a ‘normal’ ‘underground restaurant’ when you pay £120 a head.
In short, it’s worth it. Consider a dinner at The Loft as a bit like eating at the chef’s table in a good restaurant. Then make a it a bit more open, make Nuno Mendes a charming Portuguese host and set it in his flat (which despite being called The Loft is on the ground floor). Then pluck some refined wine choices and enjoy a perfectly placed meal which gives you a chance to try some experimental dishes from the chef which you can chat through with him.
Not all of the dishes worked, some amazed, some were flat, none simply disappointed. All of them were 15 degrees to the normal restaurant tangent but within the el Bulli heritage. The only problem with the whole experience is that it is so distant and unfamiliar from the whole underground scene. It is far too smooth. That said I don’t quiet know why that is a criticism, but it is.
I will be interested to see how his new restaurant, Viajante, goes. It is clear that his first attempt to strike out on his own was ill timed and too intermittently good (Bacchus). I never went but some of the reviews judge it as just plain bad. On the evidence of my meal at The Loft there is a consistency and sense to his meals that, for me, worked. If the wave that he has generated doing a supper club doesn’t eb, I am sure it will be a success.
- Price – £120
- Location is somewhere secret up Kingsland Road
PS the pictures is obviously not from The Loft as that is a nicely designed flat but I didn’t take my camera and thought this picture from mtsofan on Flickr was cute.