A Portuguese residency from an ex-Viajante chef.
I knew from the moment he started explaining the specials that we were going to get along. Whether cured, cold smoked, reduced or stewed, my waiter knew the careful coddling of every last ingredient on the list. The menu at Leandro Carreira’s residency – the first food at Climpson’s Arch since the boys from Som Saa took Thai food to new levels – is uncomplicated, and with its traditional Portuguese roots it’s also largely unfamiliar. Fortunately the comfortable surroundings, the excellent drinks, the smells wafting from the shack of an outdoor kitchen and that waiter make asking endless questions about cooking methods and weird ingredients almost as much of a pleasure as eating them.
From the roasted yeast butter to the whelks xerem, every newly familiar edible was a delight. This being Portuguese food, many of the ingredients grew up in the sea, so the only non-pescatarian dish I couldn’t resist was a bowl of plump duck hearts in a sort of almond buttermilk that added creaminess but not heaviness (which should be the slogan on a WeightWatchers shake).
Pudding – sour caramel and hazelnuts on brioche eggy bread – was again both a treat and a relevation. It’s the childhood favourite you might have ended up with if your nanny had done weekend shifts at Noma.
There’s an expertise to Carreira’s cooking that renders the tastebuds excited as well as the belly sated, a balance other cuisines could do with a bit more of. Presumably his time at Viajante alongside London’s fave Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes didn’t do his confidence any harm. The residency seems undersubscribed so far, possibly because nobody hears ‘Portuguese pop-up’ and thinks: ‘Yay, WHELKS!’, but take advantage of those empty seats while you can – it means more time and space to eat the wonderful food, drink the dangerously moreish madeira and quiz that waiter.
|Venue name:||L.C. at Climpson's Arch||Contact:|
374 Hemsley Place
|Transport:||Rail: London Fields|
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