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Nuno Mendes The Loft

by Krista

Nuno mendes1

Nuno Mendes The Loft
Google the details.

Date of Last Visit: Friday, April 3rd, 2009

The Victims: Q, Canadia Boy, Stacey, Eric, Sarah, Stuart, Steffi

The Damage: £100 each.

The Background: Q likes to drink tea. He e-mails me one day in early March to tell me that he was drinking tea at TeaSmith the other day, and Nuno Mendes (the former chef at Bacchus) was there. Apparently, they know each other from drinking tea around town. Well, Nuno tells him about his new London venture: The Loft. It's a supper club. And we're invited.

One thing leads to another. I invite Canadia Boy and Stacey. Canadia Boy invites Eric (Chilango Eric) and Sarah and Stuart and Steffi. And hence it is how we all find ourselves at Nuno's Supper Club in, well, his loft.

But when we get there, there's a surprise! The infamous Ms. Marmite Lover is also there. I'd met her a few weeks earlier at Tsuru and let the Nuno thing slip. She'd followed up on my tip and now here she was, in a journalistic capacity, working on a new project and with a big fancy camera.

So…it begins..we're treated to some Proseco. And we chat and chat. And then the gougeres arrive. Served by Nuno himself. God I love gougeres. How can anyone not? They're warm and light and served on spoons–and by the chef. In his home. Not a restaurant. His home. It's a perfect start to an amazingly outstanding evening…you can probably tell that already by the tone of my review, huh?

Nuno serving

We take our seats at the dining table, reluctantly. One of the things I loved most about the evening was how, on our initial arrival, we all chatted, amicably, in the loft's kitchen. Just like as if we were over with friends. That's the feeling behind The Loft. It's like being at the most intimate of dinner parties, with Nuno serving the role as gracious host.  

Nuno mendes table

The Food: And so it begins. And before I start, let me just tell you that it all ends six hours later, when I arrive home from Nuno's, by mini-cab, around 1:30 a.m.

Words are going to really fail me to describe what we had at The Loft on Friday night. You know I eat out a lot. And if you've been following me long enough, you know that I only have so many adjectives. Truly, the food we ate was so different and interesting and thoughtful that my words in comparison will be useless. I e-mailed Nuno the next day to ask for the menu, and the nouns only tell half the story.

When we sit, there is flat bread–sort of like that Sardinian flat bread, but not–and it's sprinkled with coffee. It's nice and light and perfect. And then there's toasted bread with romesco and I am hard-pressed to not pick up a spoon and eat all the romesco directly.

One of our first "courses" arrives…marinated mackerel, avocado, daikon, and crispy ponzo. The mackerel, one of my favorite things, is perfect and meaty and oily. The ponzo is a great contrast.

Nuno mackeral 

Later, one of the most inventive dishes of the evening arrives (in my humble opinion). It's a prawn with seared gambon, chunky miso fennel, prawn juices and orange. We all put the prawn in our mouths and then squirt the prawn juices in. It's a fantastic combination of crunchy, salty, and sweet.

Nuno prawn juices 

Back to the kitchen…I take a photo of Nuno making his onion soup moderne. You'll have to experience this dish for yourself. I won't ruin the surprise.

Nuno fire 

Back to the table…(and bear in mind I've skipped some courses here or else you'd be here forever)…there's a scallop with aubergine roe consomme and truffle. Now I'm not sure if that's aubergine AND roe or "aubergine roe." But suffice it to say, it was delicious. But then again, I love aubergine. It had me asking Nuno if he'd spent a lot of time in Japan. (Some, he explains, but really, he's spent a lot of time with Japanese chefs.)

Nuno scallop

After the mackerel, my favorite dish of the evening is the seabream. It's seabream and LAMB. Yes, lamb. Lamb belly. With mussels. I would never think to serve seabream and lamb together, but what he's done with the lamb makes it work beautifully. The lamb is in soft piles under the fish and it's salty and delicate and (are you ready?) perfect.  

Seabream 

We lose a few members of our team around midnight (trains, babysitters), which leaves just a few of us to enjoy the second of the two puddings at The Loft that evening. It's a little white chocolate cake? Cake doesn't seem to describe it well-enough. But it's served with black olives and passion fruit and although you would never think the three would go together, they do. Wonderfully so.

Nuno white chocolate 

The Loft's Loos: Molton Brown products. That's more than you get at some high-end restaurants.

The Verdict: There are nights that you wish could go on forever. Where you want the trains to keep running and the babysitters to stay so that no one will leave. Where you think that ten courses should be twenty and that you can never have enough wine.  This was one of them. You should try to get your place at Nuno's table at The Loft today.

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14 comments

Lizzie April 6, 2009 - 8:39 pm

That looks amazing. I loved the meal I had at Bacchus, so I imagine this was only better.

Krista April 6, 2009 - 8:52 pm

This was honestly amazing. Words fail me! I want to go again and again and
again.

Jonathan April 7, 2009 - 3:39 pm

Wow. This looks and sounds incredible. Can’t wait to give it a go myself. Fingers crossed.

marmitelover April 8, 2009 - 11:50 am

Hey didn’t realise you let it ‘slip’. I assumed that everybody but myself knew about it!
Still Nuno deserves the word out…will post about it soon but it’s mainly for my book.
Thanks anyway Krista. Lovely blog by the way. Will put you on my blog roll.

Krista April 8, 2009 - 1:28 pm

Oh no worries! That’s why I got my blog post up so quickly–I want to help
Nuno out!

Kavey April 15, 2009 - 9:47 am

Followed the link from MsMarmiteLover’s write-up as she didn’t try the meat elements. How was the slow-cooked beef?
Am considering attending Nuno’s supper club but it’s quite a hefty price-tag, albeit comparable with restaurant equivalents. I imagine it’s worth it, but I do have to think carefully! 🙂

Krista April 15, 2009 - 11:39 am

Hi Kavey…welcome to Londonelicious! The slow-cooked beef was pretty good
for beef, but I have to admit that I’m not much of a beef eater. I like the
occasional NY strip from a Chicago steakhouse, but that’s about it! I do
think the experience is worth it. If you consider that the wine is included
and you’re basically having a personal chef cook for you, I would do it!

the greasy spoon April 18, 2009 - 11:07 am

Hi Krista

God, this looks fab; like you, I would never have thought of the lamb/bream combination. Highly inventive, and very, very hard to get right.

[email protected] May 21, 2009 - 9:51 am

Hi Krista – fantastic review, got me really wanting to go. Any chance you can propose me for membership? : )
I’d appreciate it if you could let me know how to get teh application through!
Thanks a million,
Renata
[email protected]

Toby May 21, 2009 - 5:11 pm

Hey Krista, great review, sounds amazing! Just checked out the reservation requirements, any chance of you could propose me for membership?!

Matt May 23, 2009 - 3:00 pm

Hey Krista,

What a fantastic review! nuno is a mind-blowing chef. I was lucky enough to eat at Bacchus and this new venture sounds even more amazing!
Thanks for posting – any idea how to get a proposal for membership?
I simply MUST give this a go!

JamTam September 24, 2009 - 4:56 pm

I am so glad everyone is loving Nuno… It broke my heart when Bacchus departed and I love the Loft. A waitign game now till the Gallery and Viajante… legs crossed and bouncing!

Ross Parker December 13, 2009 - 9:57 am

Looks great, would love to go. However, not sure how a lone foodie gets proposed for membership of the elite. Maybe I will start with some other supper clubs first.

Krista December 13, 2009 - 12:51 pm


Try emailing Nuno and putting yourself forward for membership…

Comments are closed.