Chef Nuno Mendes, one of the pioneers of modern gastronomy in London over the last decade, has revealed fresh details ahead of the opening of his new Portuguese restaurant in the spring 2022. Mendes will be backed by MJMK — owners of Casa do Frango, Kol, and La Rampa — a group in a hurry to share the table with the city’s most innovative and ambitious restaurant groups right now.
Lisboeta, which means “person from Lisbon,” is a restaurant which wants to capture the “style, design, food, and culture” of that city, will open on the former site of Dim T at 30 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. After a spell back in his native Portugal where he oversees BAHR at the Bairro Alto hotel in Lisbon, Mendes is bringing to London new “discoveries and secrets” from the Portuguese capital’s restaurant and bar scene today.
As Hot Dinners first reported, both traditional and non-traditional “petiscos” (small plates) will be served alongside lunch and dinner served “tasca-style” (large sharing plates) in what the owners are describing as “a fun and lively environment.” In a downstairs room, Mendes will set up a “dynamic and immersive” kitchen-dining “Adega” that “aims to bring to life the exciting culinary inventions that are happening across Lisbon.” It is thought this area will be true to Mendes form, reflecting the more refined styles seen at past projects such as Loft Project, Viajante, and Maos — and will open later in 2022.
“Lisboeta is my love letter to Lisbon, the city I grew up in and the place I call home. I’m excited to share with London everything that makes it such a special city,” Mendes said in a statement. “Lisboeta embodies the very spirit of Lisbon, in an informal yet informative dining space, that showcases the young, vibrant food culture, produce, wine and the gastronomic heritage of my home, in a playful and thoughtful way.”
The three-floor restaurant will see a Charlotte Street townhouse “blue-washed”; decorative tiling will no doubt have a role to play as well. Inside, on the ground floor, a repurposed wood and limestone bar is being designed to recreate the cafe cutlure of the Portuguese capital, whereas upstairs, banquette seats and whitewashed walls have been selected for an “elegant setting for lunch and dinner.” Long-standing and cutting-edge producers from Portugal will be given equal weighting on a wide-ranging wine list.
Mendes, a self-styled “collaborator” rarely sits still and has an impressive number of protégés cooking some of London’s most interesting food: Ana Goncalves, Zijun Meng of TaTa Eatery and Leandro Carreira of The Sea, The Sea are among London’s most respected and inventive chefs in the capital right now. Mendes himself also remains executive chef at the celeb-magnet Marylebone restaurant Chiltern Firehouse. Mendes came to London having worked at Ferran Adrià’s seminal Spanish restaurant El Bulli.
In 2018, Mendes closed his acclaimed Portuguese restaurant Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields, after he cited the financial difficulties the business endured in 2017. He was also instrumental as a creative behind the Kitchens at that location, which opened that same year.
Lisboeta is a joint venture between restaurant-group-on-a-mission, MJMK and Mendes. It is the second of its kind in the group, after it launched the ambitious modern Mexican fine dining restaurant Kol with chef Santiago Lastra in Marylebone last year. It is also behind the Algarvian piri piri restaurant mini chain Casa do Frango and the Cuban clubstaurant Bar La Rampa in Fitzrovia.