A Portuguese disaster in London
|Ovos com tomate, Dorset crab|
For some reason, there are not a great number of Portuguese cuisine themed restaurants in London. It has always been treated as the poor cousin of Spanish cuisine. After a few trips to Portugal, I discovered Portuguese cuisine can be just as delightful as its Spanish counterpart, especially in the seafood department. Whenever there is a new Portuguese opening, I take great interest, from Casa do Frango to Bar Duro in London Bridge. Therefore, the opening of Volta Do Mar is a big deal. It positions itself as a Portuguese restaurant with international influences thanks to Portgual's rich history in exploring the world in the past, from South America to West Africa and Southeast Asia.
|Octopus and black-eyed peas salad|
|Fish and prawn moqueca|
The menu of Volta Do Mar has a wide range of dishes, from snacks, small plates to larger plates and side dishes. I am a fan of the chargrilled octopus salad, the octopus was very tender with a nice hint of smoky aroma, it worked nicely with the sour tone of the beans and vinaigrette dressing. However, apart from the octopus, the rest of the meal was a letdown. The cod and prawn moqueca were very underwhelming, it arrived lukewarmly and it did not felt like a stew. Instead, it was more like a tomato sauce tossed on top of a few seafood items. The seafood rice was also very forgettable, £18 pound for a few spoonfuls of rice, with a few mussels and a prawn on top, it lacked any flavours and the rice was almost raw, it was the worst dish of the night.
|Iberico pork vindalho|
|Castella cake and honey poached pear|
Even if was just soft launch, I found the cooking from Volta Do Mar was seriously underwhelming. It was confusing and failed to capture the essence of Portuguese cuisine for me. The execution was also poor as the presentation was really lacking in any form of detail. The price was another major issue. If you follow the standard ALC format to order a small plate then and have a large plate as your main, it would not be enough as even the large dishes are starter size portion, yet charging around the £20 mark. The people behind have run successful Mediterranean restaurants, such as Ember Yard and Opera Tavern, so I was wondering what they were thinking to charge a sky-high price for such average food.
Average cost without drinks and services:
13-15 Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7PS