Nuno Mendes, London’s most famous and revered Portuguese chef, has departed Michelin-starred restaurant Mãos. He opened the tasting menu space with Blue Mountain School entrepreneur James Brown on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch in 2018. The reason for Mendes’ departure has not been given by either party.
A spokesperson for Brown said: “Mãos co-founder, James Brown would like to announce the departure of Nuno Mendes from Mãos, the restaurant they co-founded within Blue Mountain School in 2018. Mãos looks forward to continuing their success since being awarded their first Michelin star last year with executive head chef Edoardo Pellicano.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nuno, and wish him the best of luck with his ventures. We’re thrilled that Edoardo Pellicano, who has been with us since we opened and has lead the kitchen creatively since early 2019, will continue to push the project alongside his talented kitchen team, our original front of house team and general manager Alex Casey.”
Mãos is one of the more idiosyncratic restaurants to have opened and received acclaim from Michelin in recent years. Offering only a tasting menu in the evenings, it functions unconventionally and according to the format and flow of a dinner party more than a restaurant per se. Guests can move between dining room and kitchen and take drinks on lounge chairs. A communal dining table sits in the middle of the space, although guests can move through the space and eat wherever they choose. Blue Mountain School describes itself as “dedicated to nurturing engagements and interactions between diverse practices.”
Mendes, a serial creator, and one the more important pioneers of the last decade in the capital — whose protégés Ana Goncalves, Zijun Meng, and Leandro Carreira have become three of the most interesting and inventive chefs in London in the last 18 months — remains executive chef at the celebrity favourite Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. In 2018, he moved and then closed his Portuguese restaurant Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields, after he had cited publicly the financial difficulties the business had endured in the period up to the end of 2017. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Kitchens at that location in Before that, Mendes ran Viajante in Bethnal Green, The Loft Project in Haggerston, and his first project, Bacchus on Hoxton Street.
Mendes also recently acted in the opening of BAHR at the Bairro Alto hotel in Lisbon, where he is creative director of food and beverage. A statement from his representatives confirmed that he will continue to split his time between that project and Chiltern Firehouse in London.