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Viajante Press Release

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					                    NEW RESTAURANT FROM CHEF NUNO MENDES TO OPEN
                            AT HISTORIC SITE IN BETHNAL GREEN


In March 2010 celebrated Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes will open his much anticipated
restaurant in one of the East End’s most historic buildings. VIAJANTE restaurant and bar will open in
TOWN HALL; new hotel apartments in the notable Grade II listed Bethnal Green Town Hall from
entrepreneur and hotelier Peng Loh. Paris and London based architects Rare Architecture were
commissioned to restore the Edwardian and Neo-Classical Town Hall, whilst also making the
modernisations required to transform it into a luxury hotel. TOWN HALL will open a month later in
April 2010 following completion of the entire project.

Nuno Mendes’ vast experience spans from his culinary training in San Francisco to working with
some of the world’s leading chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Rocco di Spirito and Jean-Georges
Vongerichten in both New York and London. Mendes is a pioneer in gastronomy, a traveller or
‘viajante’ who has explored the globe in search of unique ingredients, innovative techniques and
first hand experience on local farms. Nuno’s tasting menus combine the simple with the
extravagant, taking inspiration from Portugal, Spain, Asia and Scandinavia, culminating in menus
that manifest as “the sum of my experiences until today”, according to Mendes.


                                  VIAJANTE SAMPLE MENU DISHES

                 Charred sea bass and green apple, black olive and crispy ponzu

                        Yoghurt and peas, buttered hazelnuts and prawns

               Razor clams, pickled carrots and coconut, enoki mushrooms and dill

                      Smoked aubergine, potato and soymilk, uni and truffle

                           Cold crab dumpling and fake shark’s fin soup

                Umami: Do mar a montanha (Iberico pork neck and Langoustine)

                           Lamb belly and scallops, nori dust and fennel

                       Baby onions and Gruyere, tapioca and oyster cream

                Aged beef and vegetable ashes, cauliflower and burnt bread jus


VIAJANTE will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, serving a selection of tasting
menus of 6, 9 and 12 courses with carefully selected accompanying wines; a 3-course menu for
£25 will also be offered at lunch time.
Mendes plans to host Supper Club events in the private dining room in VIAJANTE as well as in the
spectacular De Montfort suite. Acting as the original Edwardian council chamber with decorative
plasterwork, the De Montfort suite still stands with triple height ceilings and large arched windows
incorporating stained glass that commemorate the local area’s history. The suite’s own kitchen
and table seating up to 20 guests is the perfect exclusive setting for one of Nuno’s renowned
Supper Clubs.

DESIGN
Designed by Rare Architects, VIAJANTE restaurant, bar and private dining room resides on the
ground floor of the Town Hall through an elegant Edwardian entrance hall separate to the hotel
apartments. The restaurant’s intimate space with lofty, arched original sash windows has two
areas, the smaller of which is able to be separated to accommodate a private dining space.
Mendes’ finishing kitchen stands at one end of the restaurant and is an integral part of the
restaurant experience, allowing diners to watch Nuno and his chefs put the final touches to each
dish.

The hand-crafted tables and chairs have been designed exclusively by Rare while features such
as silicone tapestries and the lighting have been created in collaboration with Parisian designer
Tzuri Gueta (best known for his haute couture design work with Dior, Givenchy and Armani). Black
lampshades with internal multi-coloured silicon, designed by Rare, create a contemporary
interpretation of traditional wall and ceiling ornaments.

VIAJANTE BAR
The VIAJANTE bar, across the entrance hall from the restaurant, features a fantastical chandelier
art-installation, again using Gueta’s silicone technique of creating light with texture, which hangs
directly over the bar itself. Classic lounge furniture with contemporary twists is arranged in clusters
creating intimate experiences. Cocktails continue Mendes’ philosophy with clean and interesting
flavours, beautifully presented mirroring the elegance in which his food is portrayed. Bar food is
modern and unique with tartares and ceviches, contemporary sandwiches and selections of small
dishes.


“My passion for food and cooking was always evident, but after embarking on a journey to San
Francisco to attend the prestigious California Culinary Academy, I knew then, with all my heart,
that I wanted to be a chef. Since that day in 1996, I have lived my life as a constant quest for
knowledge and discovery that has lead me to the far reaches of this world, and eventually back
to London, the place where I call home these days, and the place where I wish to propose my
personal views on food and dining”.
Nuno Mendes


VIAJANTE restaurant and bar from Nuno Mendes promises to strengthen the East’s identity as the
vibrant creative hub of Europe’s leading city, not only through innovative cuisine but through the
design and inspiring minds that have all worked together to make up the ‘story’ that is VIAJANTE.
TOWN HALL
The imposing Town Hall in Bethnal Green has stood at the heart of London’s vibrant East End for a
century and will now offer a spacious 98 hotel room and apartments following a visionary
extension and a sensitive restoration under the direction of Rare Architecture. Town Hall offers a
mix of studios, one bedroom suites, two bedroom suites and feature rooms with fully integrated
kitchens as well as bespoke, architect designed bathrooms. Every apartment has been
individually designed offering original retro furniture combined with contemporary Scandinavian
inspired hand-crafted pieces.

As a cultural core of the East End and former backdrop to many films, including Lock, Stock & Two
Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Atonement, Town Hall strongly believes in supporting the local
community. As a result Town Hall enlisted the support of not-for-profit East End based art
organisation ‘Artsadmin’ to run an open commission scheme, asking up-and-coming local artists
to create works for the new hotel. The judging panel, which included input from individuals such
as Manick Govinda and Iwona Blazwick, Director of Whitechapel Gallery, selected and
commissioned six artists to make ten installations to be displayed throughout the hotel.

Town Hall’s basement will house the hotel’s pool and gym. The pool area has been designed in
shades of white marble with touches of brass to recall the elegance and charm of a traditional
spa. The glass walled gym overlooks the pool and offers state-of-the-art equipment and audio
equipment.

Only fifteen minutes walk to London’s financial district and well-connected to the city and the
West End by tube, train and road, Bethnal Green has recently emerged as a melting pot for
artistic talent in London. Famous today for its markets, edgy bars and, as the heart of London’s
artistic community, there are a myriad of stories to discover; from the Museum of Childhood to the
speciality restaurants of Brick Lane.




EDITOR’S NOTES

NUNO MENDES BIOGRAPHY
Nuno Mendes was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. He became interested in food at a young
age and has dedicated his life to exploring and perfecting his cooking. Growing up, Mendes’
spent time working through culinary treasure troves of Spain and Portugal, even spending time
working on farms to gain a greater understanding of food.

Nuno left Europe in the 1990’s and trained at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San
Francisco before going on to work with some of the world’s leading chefs. One such chef was
Mark Miller from The Coyote Café where Mendes first worked as a Chef de Cuisine. Mark’s
influence encompassed South Western American and Latin American cooking, an influence
which later allowed Nuno to develop further Latin American concepts; Mendes was a consultant
for Chilango, the new burrito concept in London.
Other influential mentor chefs for Mendes included Wolfgang Puck, Rocco di Spirito (Union
Pacific) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Jean-Georges in New York and Rama at 50 St James in
London). During this time Nuno travelled throughout Central America, Europe and Asia gaining
both culinary and life experiences along the way, including learning from highly respected Ferran
Adria during a ‘stage’ at El Bulli in Spain.

In 2006 Mendes opened Bacchus in Hoxton London where he received critical acclaim. After the
closure of Bacchus in 2008 Nuno decided to open and develop a new concept he calls THE LOFT;
a private members supper club where Nuno hosts dinner parties and tests new recipes and
concepts to willing and intrigued diners. The Loft is an intimate experience that takes place in
Mendes’ own home, and which now has a dedicated following of food lovers and admirers, so
much so that dinners are booked up months in advance.



For further information or images on VIAJANTE restaurant and bar please contact:
Gemma Bell at Purple
+44 (0) 20 7434 7066
gemma@purplepr.com


For further information or images on TOWN HALL please contact:
Kate Atkinson and Louise Moore at Purple
+44 (0) 20 7434 7060
kate@purplepr.com / louise@purplepr.com
FACT SHEET


Address:                     Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF


Telephone:                   020 7621 8791


Website:                     www.viajanterestaurant.co.uk


Seating Capacity:            40 in the restaurant
                             40 seated in the bar
                             12 in the private dining area


Opening:                     March 2010


Architect:                   Rare Architecture


Chef Proprietor:             Nuno Mendes


Restaurant & Bar Manager:    Jeff Stuit


Town Hall General Manager:   Marie Baxter


Opening Times:               TBC

Restaurant
Lunch
Dinner

Bar

				
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