|Monkfish cheeks garlic and shallots, mussels and coriander|
Taberna do Mercado is a Portuguese restaurant inside the Old Spitalfields Market. It is by Nuno Mendes, a chef who gained popularity after achieving 1 Michelin status at his old restaurant, Viajante in East London. I was a little reserved first before arranging a booking as I had a rather forgettable meal from the much hyped Chiltern Firehouse by the very same chef. But then again Taberno do Mercado concept is completely different to Chiltern Firehouse, plus without all the paparazzi nonsense and the troublesome need to book months in advance. Taberna is an informal dinning restaurant that serves sharing dishes, Portuguese style.
The tinned fishes were seriously impressive, the monkfish cheek was smooth and finely seasoned, it was served warm with shallots and toast, which made it one of my all time favourite seafood sandwiches. Oyster and coriander rice was a very accomplish dish, the rice had a lovely soft texture with an explosive rich flavour, the little hint of grassy aroma plus an undertone of bitterness completed such a well balanced plate of food. The much hyped steamed egg yolk with pork fat was also a delight, silky smooth and not overly rich. Last but not least was the "pastel de nata tart", a custard tart that tasted so defined with the perfect thickness and sweetness.
|Oyster and coriander rice|
|Pastel de nata tart|
|Steamed egg yolk, pork fat & port caramel|
The cooking from Taberna do Merado was indeed sensational, I really enjoyed the simplistic, rustic approach that delivered us plates after plates of well executed dishes. There wasn't one bad dish on the night, if Barrafina has a Michelin star, there is no reason why Taberna doesn't deserve one. Service was also humble and informal to make this an excellent venue for a casual meet-up with friends. There isn't another restaurant in London that does anything similar right now, with such an unique and flavoursome approach. Will I return? Totally.
What I paid:
£40 per head
Average cost without drinks and services:
Old Spitalfields Market, 107B Commercial St, London E1 6B