Portugal in general and its cuisine in particular has been having a moment in the sun, with chefs and tourists alike flocking to Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve to mine for inspiration. The latest Portuguese restaurant to arrive in London has been launched by husband and wife couple Simon Mullins and Isabel Almeida da Silva. The Salt Yard co-founder is excited to bring the rich culinary tradition with its global influences to Covent Garden, drawing on locations such as Angola, Goa, Mozambique, Brazil, Macau and beyond.
Situated in a Georgian townhouse on Tavistock Street, Volta do Mar is named for the navigation technique employed by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century. It boasts a charming interior with elegant crystal and gold chandeliers, striking tropical plants and palms, portraits on the wall, lightwood flooring and velvet banquettes. There are a number of private dining rooms available that seat up to 50 when combined, as well as an interactive chef’s table for those who want to watch food in action.
Plates are small and meant to be shared. We kicked the meal off with a spicy peas and corn mix as well as the house sardine pate with sourdough. The nibbles were well suited to tide us over until the rest came. Portuguese cabbage feijoada riffed on the Brazilian bean dish. We found that the Moçambique green rice paired deliciously with an aubergine Goan curry with cashew yoghurt. Arroz marisco was another able deployment of rice, studded with fresh seafood. A tiger prawn and fish moqueca was also rather good.
Volta do Mar is a worthy flag-bearer for Portuguese cuisine. That coupled with its charming setting makes it worth a visit.