Published 27 November 2021
by Josh Barrie
Nuno Mendes, highly rated by many in London’s hospitality community, has announced his latest restaurant, Lisboeta, which translates simply as “a person from Lisbon”. It is scheduled to open in spring next year.
Lisboeta will be, Mendes said, a “love letter” to the Portuguese capital, capturing the city’s “style, design, food and culture… between four walls”.
It marks a return to London for the chef, who has been spending more time in Lisbon over the last couple of years. There have been whispers of a comeback for some time now and here it is. Gone are his ties to the celeb-imbued Chiltern Townhouse, which Eater reported, and gone is his involvement with Maos, the Shoreditch supper club-style restaurant he launched with the boutique fashion designer James Brown in 2019. Lisboeta, then, arrives with high expectations and much anticipation.
Mendes has promised to bring with him his own “discoveries and secrets” from Lisbon, with a menu and wine list reflecting the rhythm of the city today. “[It will be] my love letter to Lisbon, the city I grew up in and the place I call home,” he said. “I’m excited to share with London everything that makes it such a special city.
“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.”
Those who manage to get a table – assuming sitting at one proves as difficult as it once was at Chiltern Firehouse, when Mendes launched the Marylebone hotspot – will be served “traditional and non-traditional ‘petiscos’ (little plates of this and that) with a glass of Portuguese wine from an exciting new producer”. Lunch and dinner will be served “tasca style in a fun and lively environment”. Mendes’ new venture has also been described as “dynamic” and “immersive”.
The space sounds impressive. Lisboeta will reside across three floors in a townhouse on Charlotte Street, which Mendes designed alongside his friend and architect Joao Guedes Ramos. Lisbon has been “reimagined” in London, the pair said, with a classic Western European awning perched in front of a blue-washed wall. Inside will be a long, seated bar on the ground floor, and banquette seating upstairs.
Interestingly enough, Mendes is collaborating with the increasingly busy MJMK Restaurants on the project. The group has been investing with aplomb of late, and Lisboeta follows the now three-year-old Casa do Frango, Bar La Rampa – which is better than some have supposed – and the Kol, Santiago Lastra’s beautiful modern Mexican restaurant on Seymour Street.