London’s leading Portuguese chef — Nuno Mendes, who last week Eater revealed was opening a new, 14-cover fine-dining restaurant in Shoreditch — has announced that his flagship restaurant in Spitalfields, Taberna do Mercado, will close. On Instagram yesterday evening, he said that the brand would take a stall at The Kitchens, the market stall restaurant/streetfood collective, in Old Spitalfields Market, which he co-founded and curated last autumn. The space currently occupied by the restaurant will evolve into a wine bar and bottle shop.
2018 brings quiet change, we are excited to announce that Taberna do Mercado will be moving into the Kitchens at Old Spitalfields Market. It’s a great opportunity for our brand to evolve and we welcome the chance to be part of the new vision for @oldspitalfieldsmarket - exciting times! Reinvent yourself or die ;-)
A spokesperson for the restaurant told Eater this morning: “Nuno is moving Taberna into the market because he feels it can showcase the project in its entirety there.
“The Taberna space will turn into a wine bar bottle shop to service the market.
“In the meantime, Nuno is exploring other bricks and mortar locations for this concept.”
The change of use for the site is effective as of today (Tuesday 6 March). Eater has been informed that new signage will be in place on Thursday this week.
The wine bar and bottle shop will serve small amount of food, though no details have yet been given by Mendes.
The announcement ought not be met with a huge amount of surprise; the chef posted a frank message on Instagram at Christmas, in which he stressed the difficulties his restaurant had faced in 2017.
“I honestly didn’t think we would manage to stay open until the end of the year,” he wrote on 29 December 2017. “Still, by some miracle and lots of perseverance, we managed to survive. The year is not over yet but we expect to open up again on the 4th which is another miracle in itself. There is a lot of uncertainly at the moment so I don’t know if we will manage to stay open to see the end of next year but let’s hope so.”
The chef is also still the executive chef of the high-end hotel restaurant at Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone and will open his new fine-dining project, Mãos, on Redchurch Street at the start of April.