Nuno Mendes

One of the most acclaimed Portuguese Chefs with an impressively successful international career, Nuno Mendes has worked with some of the top chefs in the world – from elBulli’s Ferran Adrià to Wolfgang Puck – and, since he moved to London 10 years ago, that his restaurants Bacchus, the Loft and o Viajante have been among the most sought after in the city. Right now, although he spends most of his time at his Taberna do Mercado, in Old Spitafields Market, he is also the head Chef at Chiltern Firehouse, one of London’s hottest venues where it’s almost impossible to get a table and has some of the biggest names in music, film and fashion among its client list.

Definitely one of the the most Famous Portuguese Abroad, we spoke to Nuno to ask him a little bit about his views on Lisbon. Here’s what he said:

– Secret location?

Sintra – Although it is not really a secret anymore. I love to walk down the narrow roads, and discover magical Quinta da Regaleira

– Best View?

Tágide Restaurant. I remember going there with my father when I was little, and I love the view over Lisbon’s rooftops. The view from Arrábida is also breathtaking, as is the view over the sand dunes of Guincho as seen from Oitavos. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is also one of my favourite!

– What’s the first thing you do when you land in Lisbon?

Head to the buzzing Chiado district for its urban energy that always picks me up.

– What Portuguese dish do you crave most when in London?
Enjoying seafood next to the sea! The smell of the ocean, the light, the colours…

– Where can we find you on any given Sunday (when in Lisbon)?
In the outside terrace of Alfaia having a glass of wine and some petiscos, or having a drink at sunset at Bar do Guincho.
– A trend for Lisbon’s future?
Becoming more cosmopolitan. Lisbon becoming more interesting, more diverse. More unique projects being started by interesting people, Lisbon itself becoming more curious and creative, more individual.

– Favourite drink in the city?
Adamastor and Pharmacia for sunset. Lisbon needs more rooftops and outside terraces!

– Favorite recipe you like to make at home for family and/or friends?
Rissóis de camarão – in fact, it’s what led me to open Taberna do Mercado. I was at home with my family one day and I made them, and it filled me with such a special feeling, I loved the ritual and the preparation; and that’s how Taberna do Mercado was born!

– Someone you would like to have dining at Chiltern Firehouse in London?
Tom Waits – because he’s a part of the history of music.

– At your newest restaurant in Old Spitafields Market, London, Taberna do Mercado, is the menu based on recipes which you had at home growing up?
The restaurant has Portuguese flavours of my imagination. They are not typical flavours – but they do have touching points.

– Which is your favourite “petisco” from the Taberna do Mercado Menu?
Must eat: rissóis de camarão and pézinhos de coentrada com alho.

– Your tip for making cenouras de escabeche (preserved carrots) at home?
Ferment the carrots for 5 days!