Famously itchy-footed experimental chef Nuno Mendes returns to his Portuguese roots with his new restaurant in the Fitzrovia foodie enclave of Charlotte Street, which opens on Monday. He says Lisboeta will be “a love letter to Lisbon”, his home city.
One of the most eagerly anticipated – not to say hyped – openings in London this year, Lisboeta’s menu features a range of Portuguese seafood specialities, such as giant carabineiro prawns from the Algarve, goose barnacles, razor clams and cuttlefish with pig’s trotters, plus amberjack from the Azores and cuts of cured meat. The food is divided into petiscos (small plates), tachos (pots) and travessas (platters), all for sharing.
Nuno left Lisbon to train in California and Japan, and worked for influential chefs including Ferran Adrià and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He made his name in London with Viajante in Bethnal Green – the name nods to his peripatetic career – before moving on to the celeb-magnet Chiltern Firehouse then back to more radical culinary territory at Maos in Shoreditch.
He is pitching Lisboeta at “a very accessible price point”, with plates starting at £5 and a glass of wine at £6. The atmosphere will be “bohemian”, with food like “going to grandma’s house – a big pot just lands on the table, something you can just tuck into”. The operation is on three levels, including a basement (which opens next month) featuring a chef’s table where enthusiastic diners can really push the boat out, so “there’s an easy base level – but if you want to go crazy, you can go crazy”.
Lisboeta is open every day for lunch and dinner except Sunday (lunch only), and Monday, dinner only.