Após uma viagem de cerca de 45 min, no comboio que sai da estação de Paddington em Londres, chega-se a uma pequena cidade chamada Maidenhead. A seguir apanha-se um taxi e em 5 minutos estamos em Bray, onde se localiza o restaurante do famoso Chef Heston Blumenthal - Fat Duck.
O espaço do Fat Duck, caracteriza-se por habitar uma casa antiga característica das aldeias dos arredores de Londres, onde a decoração simples e as cores claras, dão uma sensação de tranquilidade à sala de jantar pequena, que tem uma capacidade para cerca de 30-40 refeições. Embora o espaço-sala seja reduzido, assim como o da cozinha que tivemos oportunidade de visitar, o número de trabalhadores resume-se a: 6 cozinheiros para confecção, 3 cozinheiros para mise-en-place, 3 pasteleiros, 3 escanções, 5 empregados de mesa e uma Chef de sala.
Pedimos o menu de degustação e depois de 4 entradas, 5 pratos principais, 2 pré-sobremesas, 3 sobremesas, e muita "Mise en Scène", ficámos agradavelmente surpreendidos, com a sensação de satisfação de ter correspondido às expectativas criadas - "Like a child in a sweet shop".
After a small trip of 45 minutes, in the train that leaves from Paddington station, we’ve arrived at a small town called Maidenhead. Once we were there, we took a 5 minute ride in a taxi to BrayVillage, were is located the restaurant of the famous Chef Heston Blumenthal - Fat Duck.
The restaurant is very simple, in an old village house, decorated with light colours that give a serenity sensation once you enter the room. The small eating room has place for around 30 to 40 people, and the kitchen that we also had the opportunity to visit is also very small, although the number of employees is big considering the space and the number of people eating there. That is how it should be!
We ordered the tasting menu, and after 4 entries, 5 main dishes, 2 pre-desserts, 3 desserts and a lot of “Mise en Scène”, the sensation we all had was of “mission accomplished”, it did correspond to all our expectations – “Like a child in a sweet shop”.
("suspiro" gelado de chá verde e lima, para limpar o palato)
(Ostra com gelatina fluida de maracujá e crocantes de isomalte)
(gelado de mostarda, com gaspacho de couve roxa)
(gelatina de coderniz com creme de lagostim e parfait de Foie Gras)
(papel comestível com sabor a carvalho, acompanhado por uma tosta com trufas pretas)
Snail Porridge (Joselito ham, shaved fennel)
(papas de aveia com caracoletas, pequenas tiras de presunto e aparas de funcho)
(Foie gras, com molho de amêndoas, pequenas gelatinas de amaretto, cereja e camomila)
("Areia" feita com maltodextrina, misturada com algas e "Chirimen" - pequenos peixinhos secos, muito usados pelos Japoneses. Espuma da "praia" feita com água salgada e lecitina a cobrir mexilhões, ostras e chocos)
(Salmão coberto por gelatina de "liquorice", maionese de baunilha, alcachofras e pepitas de toranja separadas com azoto líquido)
(Pombo, com espuma de picles, com mousse de "black pudding"- espécie de morcela inglesa)
(Risotto de couve flor com cacau polvilhado, couve flor desidratada, gelatina de cacau)
Hot and Iced Tea (Chá metade quente, metade gelado)
(Gelado de maçã e gengibre, em homenagem a Mrs Marshall a mulher que inventou os gelados de cone, em 1887)
(palhinha de baunilha, e recipiente com um pó com sabor a citrinos, para chupar e limpar as papilas gustativas)
Mango and Douglas Fir Puree (Bavarois of lychee and mango, blackcurrant sorbet)
(sobremesa de bavaroise de líchias e manga, com gelado de groselhas)
(Cereais de xerovias com leite de xerovias)
(Gomas de whiskey da Escócia e USA, acompanhadas com água escocesa)
Bacchus é um restaurante relativamente recente, localizado na zona Este de Londres perto de Old Str. Com um dono Inglês Philip Mossop e o Chef Português Nuno Mendes, o restaurante tem feito grande sucesso e é actualmente muito referido pelos media. O chef Português de 33 anos, outrora finalista de biologia, faz uma cozinha com sabores Ibéricos misturados com ingredientes típicos Portugueses, com grande influência Espanhola e um toque Japonês (ingredientes e apresentação). Menú equilibrado com muitos legumes e germinados e muito colorido. Utiliza técnicas e ingredientes de vanguarda, que revelam a sua breve passagem pelo El Bulli como estagiário.
Bacchus is a recent restaurant, located in the East part of London in the Old St neighbourhood. The owner is a English called Philip Mossop and the Chef is Nuno Mendes a Portuguese with 33 years old, that used to study biology. Nuno Mendes mixes Iberic tastes with Japanese ingredients and presentation. Very well balanced menu, with lots of vegetables and very colourfull. He also uses techniques and new ingredients that reveal is passing trough El Bulli as a stagière.
Menu de Degustação / Tasting Menu
"Papos de Anjo" com queijo e sem calda, com sal, pimenta caiena e ervas aromáticas
Small Portuguese cakes called "Papos de Anjo", with cheese, salt and spices
Shot de ervilhas com hortelã e rebentos de beterraba
Sweet peas and pepermint shot with beetroot sprouts
Skate and avocado roll with caramel topping (isomalt sugar), curry crumble and passion fruit sauce.
Mousse de caranguejo enrolada numa película filamentosa, rolo de gelatina a envolver ovas de peixe voador, cogumelos shitake, coulis de ervas e tosta.
Crab mousse with Tobiko ravioli, baby shitake, green herbal broth and coral toast
Salada de vegetais e frutos da estação com geleia de tomate (xantano), flores e quadradinhos de gelatina de vinagre balsâmico.
Salada de vegetais e frutos da estação com geleia de tomate (xantano), flores e quadradinhos de gelatina de vinagre balsâmico.
Salad of vegetables, fruits of the season, tomato gelee (xanthane), flowers and litle cubes of balsamic vinagre.
Camarões do paraíso, com duas texturas de ananás (desidratado e caramelizado) com gelado de coco.
Paradise Prawns seared pineaple, green olive sofrito and iced coconut
Geleia de presunto Ibérico, tomate frsco, azeite de alho em pó (maltodextrina), tosta.
Iberico ham gelee, summer tomatoes, bocadilho bred and garlic oil dust (maltodextrine).
Tamboril com compota de funcho, aveia torrada e açafrão molho de pimentos.
Monkfish fillet, fennel compote, safron toasted oats, ajo blanco and piquillo.
Peito de vitela cozinhada em baixas temperaturas, involucro de gelatina de leite de soja, cenouras, ginger ale, puré de cenoura e pimenta Szechuan.
Veal breast, soy milk gelatine, ginger ale, carrot pure and Szechuan peppercorns.
Morangos, rúcula e ar de wasabi.
Stawberries, rocket and wasabi air.
Coulant quente de chocolate escuro, com gelado de água de rosas, pós de: cacau, azeite de avelã em pó (maltodextrina) e pó de avelã ralada.
Dark chocolate, mangosteen, rose water ice cream and 3 powders: cocoa, hazelnut oil (maltodextrine) and grated hazelnut.
Trufa de chocolate com recheio de leite condensado, colher com puré de manga, copo com creme catalana e biscoito de manteiga com piri-piri.
Chocolate trufle with condensed milk on the inside, spon with mango pure, shot of catalana cream an butter biscuit sprinckled with piri-piri.
Is this the most futuristic pub in Britain?
Cheese ice cream, apple air and a pint of lager - how an east end boozer is reinventing pub grub.
Photograph of Bacchus owner Philip Mossop and chef Nuno Mendes by John Reardon
'Then I went to the Fat Duck,' he says wide-eyed, as so many often are. 'And that changed everything.' Blumenthal's menu of oysters with passion fruit, low-temperature cooked pigeon and smoky bacon ice-cream, excited him like no other. 'I began doing research. I discovered that there was this man called Ferran Adrià who was doing something like this in Spain,' he says now, mocking his own lost innocence. 'That there was another place called WD-50 in New York.' He started to travel and to eat. 'I thought it was really exciting. But I also knew I wanted to do something local, not West End. The fact is I still begrudge spending £400 for two people in a grand restaurant. I find it elitist.'
What he wanted, he says now, is to serve 'avant- garde food at a reasonable price. I couldn't see why it couldn't be done. After all, it doesn't cost more to cook like this.' He already had his site, having set his heart on the knackered old Bacchus, at the end of Hoxton Street which even its admirers would accept will never be on anybody's sightseeing tour.
The problem was finding the right chef. He met over a dozen. They did things for him with sea bass and cannon of lamb. They did reduced French-style sauces. 'It was perfectly nice, but completely uninteresting.' Then, one day, he stumbled across Nuno Mendes, a Portuguese-born chef who had worked at El Bulli, happened to live around the corner from him in Shoreditch and who was desperate to be given his own show. 'We went back to my flat and cooked for about a week. He was amazing, because of the things he could do with a conventional kitchen.' Mendes, who is 33, looks the part, too: a sail of black fringe hanging down, carefully sculpted beard, and dark eyes that sparkle when he talks about the dishes he's preparing. 'The new food is a breath of fresh air,' he says in his American-accented English after years in New York and New Mexico. 'We can play with food, we can have fun with it. But I also like making ingredients as good as they can be.'
One weekday afternoon he leads me into the small open kitchen at the back of the pub where his non-English brigade is preparing for that evening's dinner. He shows me a piece of pearly-white vac-packed cod, with a little butter and seasoning. So will he be boiling this for 48 hours like that newspaper article suggested? He laughs. 'We'll cook it for 13 minutes in the water bath,' he says. 'The texture is amazing. Sous vide for me is not about changing expectations. It's about making ingredients taste as good as they can.'
Still, it's clear this is not like other kitchens. Nothing is roasting down in the oven. There is no stockpot bubbling on the stove, only a big pan of milk for the dolcelatte ice-cream. I raise an eye-brow at the thought of a blue-cheese ice-cream. 'Really all we're doing is serving a version of the cheese plate you get with pear. Only here the cheese is part of an ice cream.' I ask him about the green apple 'air' on the menu. 'We do that using lecithin. It's an emulsifier which makes foams come up perfectly.' And then he says, 'The thing you have to understand, though, is that we're not scientists. We're cooks. The technology is simply about control and consistency.'
That evening I am served a tasting menu by the young and enthusiastic team. There is a Bacchus Bubble Bath cocktail to start, its foaming head fragrant with lemon grass. There is a taster of apple purée with a sprightly foam of yogurt and the sudden crunch of salt. Mackerel comes with tart rhubarb purée and crisp crumbs of gingerbread, building up a curious interplay of salt and sweet. A single fat scallop, cooked sous vide, has a soft, gel-like quality beneath a pillow of that green apple air. Cinnamon-rubbed pork comes with shards of tarragon-flavoured crisp caramel, and there's a small piece of fillet steak with a grain-mustard crust and luxurious buttery truffled potatoes. Finally there is that dolcelatte ice-cream with the pear cake.
Does everything work? No, not entirely. Ingredients cooked sous vide are famed for their softness. Meats can come out incredibly tender. But what they can lack - like that jellified scallop - is texture: a bit of crunch, a bit of contrast. And sometimes Mendes likes to throw one ingredient too many onto the plate, a little flowery rosewater into a sauce, for example, a dark smear of soy sauce beneath the pork. But, for the most part, it is delicious and never less than intriguing. It plays with your head in the way lamb shanks and fish cakes never can.
Mendes recognises what he does may be challenging. 'But I stand behind it 100 per cent. I'm not just trying to shock people. This is what I believe in.' Trying to get others to believe is a different matter. Already some of the restaurant critics have declared themselves baffled. Mendes is philosophical. 'We accept that some people will like it and some won't.'
Clearly there are enough people who like it. Bookings are up and they have introduced a lunch service. And last month, a restaurant critic rallied to their cause, giving Bacchus four out of five stars, declaring Mendes and Mossop complete stars and praising their 'lovely, adventurous little restaurant'. The review appeared in the very same newspaper which had run a news story declaring sous vide the enemy of good eating. The irony is not lost on Mossop, who sees it as an inevitable part of the strong reactions that a restaurant like his is always bound to encourage. For now, though, he says, they are simply looking to the future. Much like their food.Bacchus, 177 Hoxton Street, London N1 (020 7613 0477); www.bacchus-restaurant.co.uk.
D.O.M. Dominus Optimus Maximus