Viajante to close

nuno mendes - Nuno-Mendes-2010.jpgNuno Mendes is to leave Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel and his Michelin-starred restaurant Viajante is to close. The move happens just weeks before the launch of Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone where he will take the role of executive chef.

Viajante, which opened four years ago, will operate as normal until the end of February and will then close. The Town Hall Hotel have confirmed that another restaurant will replace Viajante, with details to be released over the next few days. Corner Room, the hotel’s other restaurant which is also headed up by Mendes, is likely to remain open, though Mendes will not be involved.

Chiltern Firehouse will open on 16 February as part of a new Marylebone hotel of the same name from André Balazs, who has a portfolio of hotels in the US. The food offering will be very different from that of Viajante, with no tasting menus and a more casual feel. It is described as ‘contemporary, ingredient-focused… with an underlying American accent’ and will showcase the diversity of modern American cooking, reflecting the 16 years that Mendes spent in the States working with chefs including Wolfgang Puck.

The restaurant’s head chef will be Dale Osborne, who previously worked at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Described by the hotel as a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’, menus will be ‘accessibly priced’, with more details due to be revealed this Thursday when the website goes live and reservations can be made.

Mendes has been working on this project for more than a year, and insists that it is not the reason why he is closing Viajante; he instead cites the need to pursue new challenges after ‘four brilliant years’ as his reason for moving on. Along with Chiltern Firehouse, a return of the chef’s Loft Project series of supperclubs is also in the pipeline, while he is considering opening another Viajante restaurant in a different location.  

Nuno Mendes is to leave Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel and open Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone.