We’re done with January and its bloomin’ dryness. What we want is some warmth, some colour, some excitement in our lives. And while we’re at it, something special to get our tastebuds popping wouldn’t go amiss either.
It’s as if the team at Viajante87 have read our minds. In three weeks time – on the 13th February to be precise, Bar Director Pietro Collina and Brand Manager Veronica Di Pietrantonio will launch the first of their exciting takeover series. But don’t go thinking that these are going to be anything like your average bar takeovers. Hell no! The team are going all out, bringing a whole new level of exotic tastes and culture to London’s Notting Hill.
Fittingly called The Culture Exchange, each takeover will showcase the duo’s pick of the most inspiring and authentic venues from a specific part of the world. No surprises given that the concept for Viajante87 is based on their love for and travels across Latin America, the initial programme is a love letter to their beloved region – highlighting some of the excellent and we mean truly excellent bars and restaurants from Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Buenos Aires and Mexico.
It kicks off by shining a light on São Paulo, with a selection of dishes from acclaimed chefs Luana Sabino and Eduardo Nava Ortiz from award-winning restaurant Metzi (currently number 18 on the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list), accompanied by drinks from SubAstor (just a smidge outside the World’s 50 Best Bars list, at a very impressive number 58), who will be ably assisted by the Viajante87 team during dinner duty. That’s from 6.30-8.30pm. At 9pm get ready to party as the SubAstor crew take over the bar until close. Good times as well as great tastes are absolutely guaranteed.
And it’s not just about the one event. All of the takeovers will follow the same format but with completely different menus, each proudly showcasing the unique tastes and ingredients of the specific region. In March, it’s time for Costa Rica to shine with drinks from Costa Rican Selvática Social Club and food from chef, writer and sommelier Diengo Chou. April gets busy with takeovers from Florería Atlántico in Buenos Aires who will be pairing up with Marsia Taha from Bolivian restaurant Gustu. Then there’s Hanky Panky from Mexico City and Casa Oaxaca, again from Mexico but as you might have guessed, Oaxaca, all in the same month. May brings Colombia’s finest, Alquimico together with chefs from celebrated restaurant Celele to W11, while Lima’s Sastrería Martinez wraps up the series in June. (Details of participating restaurants tbc).
“When we thought of having takeovers at Viajante87, we wanted to make them special to us,” says Veronica. “Of course, inviting all the friends who hosted us during our Latin American tour was a no-brainer – we can’t wait to give back to our Latin American community and host them in our city. But we wanted to make each event really special. We had long conversations about what we loved the most and missed most about the region, and with culture and people, it’s definitely their food.”
Pietro agrees: “When we were in Latin America we were so lucky to experience some of the best cuisines in the world. Mexican, Colombian, Peruvian, Costa Rican and Brazilian and those incredible flavours and ingredients are what we’ve decided to add to our takeovers, to give our guests in London the opportunity to experience them.”
Cherry-picking their favourite bars was one thing. Choosing the restaurants to accompany them was another matter entirely. “When we contacted our friends we asked them to think of chefs that were doing an amazing job in their country and that they would be happy to work with, to make this takeover special. They all chose amazing chefs that are doing incredible work and are rightly being recognised by the restaurant community for how they showcase their flavours in the kitchen.”
Go taste the results for yourselves. Tickets cost £125 for each food and drink experience, or do the really cool thing and book a package for all six for £700, which is darned cheaper than a flight to even one of those destinations. We’re in!