It was one of London’s top dining destinations, put Bethnal Green firmly on the foodie map, and was the fifth best food in the capital in its price bracket according to Harden’s 2014 survey. So when Nuno Mendes announced almost two years ago that his “thrilling” testament to “gastronomic story-telling” Viajante was to close, it came as something of a surprise to fans.
Surprise turned to disappointment among Harden’s reporters as Mendes swapped Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel for the glitzy new Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. This celeb, wannabe and paparazzi magnet was crowned this year’s most disappointing restaurant by the Harden’s 2016 survey, with many reporters expecting much more from the Mendes name.
So to the good news! Viajante is (hopefully) making a comeback. Mendes launched a £1.75 million equity crowd fund on 10 November to realise his dream of reopening the lauded restaurant, which unfortunately did not reach its target in the required time period. However, the chef says that the level of interest from investors means that they have other funding options to explore.
The crowd-funding model has already proved to be incredibly successful for other restaurateurs. Thai pop-up Som Saa managed to raise £550,000 through Crowdcube earlier this year as they seek to launch their first permanent site.
Ever since Viajante closed last year there have been rumours that Mendes was planning to reopen his passion project and was looking for the perfect East London venue. Now, in Metropolitan Wharf, a revitalised Victorian riverfront warehouse in Wapping, the chef says he has found the ideal setting.