“Curiouser and curiouser” I mumbled to myself as I attempted to get into the building in which I knew my destination was located. I arrived at the old Town Hall building in Cambridge Heath Road last Monday to meet a restaurant consultant colleague from Paris. Over the doorway on the main road was written Viajante, the main restaurant of the building, but no access there. I walked down the side of the building and finally found an entrance with the legend: hotel and apartments. Inside the building and with no one to ask, I followed a sign to restaurant and bar. At the end of the long passage, two swing doors shut terrifyingly behind me. I was trapped in the Viajante premises which was closed on Monday lunch! This was becoming more Alice-like by the minute. And how would Anne-Claire ever find me?
Finally all was well, and I was led upstairs down another passage to Corner Room. Perhaps it was not surprising we were the only customers, it being such an achievement to arrive at a venue which doesn’t even take bookings. However, the rest of the experience was so special that I was more surprised that it was not full, continuously.
So what did we three eat? Another French banker foodie had joined us, which meant all the more dishes to try from this sparsely written menu on brown paper. I shall let the photographs do the talking:
* the numbers after the captions are the prices
We had instruction from two chefs on all the ingredients, but I can’t begin to tell you what they were. All the dishes were extraordinary; visually and to the taste: true gastronomy. If you just like to tuck in, then this place is not for you. But to us foodies, this was an education and a delight.
And something else for me, which showed true intelligence: no list of bottled mineral water; instead a simple line stating that unlimited still and sparkling water is served at a charge of £1 per person. Who could grumble about that? Let’s hear it for www.tapwater.org !
I could tell you about the premises: about the spiral staircase that goes nowhere, about the moose’s head moulded from a Persian carpet… but just go, while you still can.
Town Hall Hotel
Open every day: noon – 10pm