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One Spitalfields local feels lucky to have some “Nuno Mendes magic” around the corner from his office, although this Portuguese tapas joint is a far cry (geographically and gastronomically) from the chef’s celeb-magnet Chiltern Firehouse. Buzzy and intimate, with “fairly neutral” decor and fair prices, it doles out a funky mix of charcuterie, home-cured fish and varied small plates with some seriously random (but “amazing”) flavour combinations. We’re sold on the moreish green bean fritters and the expertly cooked octopus and pepper salad, but the line-up also extends to tinned Dorset char with fennel and lemon, beef prego sandwiches with prawn paste and wild garlic, fascinating cheeses and wonderfully weird desserts such as the oddly delicious abade de priscos (made from pork fat and caramel, steamed egg yolk and sugar). Service can be a little hectic, but busy crowds and content stomachs are testament to Mendes’ commitment to exciting Portuguese fare.
I've been waiting a while now to taste Nuno Mendes' cooking. I missed him at Viajante (now Lee Westcott's highly rated Typing Room), and then there was the whole Chiltern Firehouse, shall we say, phenomenon? Thankfully, he has just opened a relaxed Portuguese restaurant called Taberna do Mercado in Old Spitalfields Market that will hopefully remain celebrity free for the time being. Currently you can book a table for lunch from 12-2pm (email@example.com). Between 3-6pm you can walk in for drinks, cured meats, cheeses and other cold snacks, and dinner is from 6-9.30pm (also walk in only). They...
More from Matt The List »
Taberna do Mercado sits within Spitalfields Market; it is beautifully simple, bright and airy. As is the way now, you can’t reserve a table in the evening, so we headed straight here after work on a Friday. We arrived just after 6, which is when they begin dinner service.With a couple of tables left inside (they have a number outside, under the markets roof) we were shown to ours and, who is sat in the corner, just two tables away… the man himself, Nuno Mendes. At this point I inform my husband of my continued chef crush. He takes it well; we order wine...
More from Review of Blacklock, Soho »
If Spanish and Portuguese cuisine were human siblings, then Spanish food would undoubtedly be the attention-grabbing overachiever. From paella, jamon iberico de bellota and Cantabrian anchovies to the heady heights of modernist Basque and Catalan cooking, Spain has it all.Portugal, on the other hand, rarely gets a look in. Despite the hordes of Brits invading the Algarve every summer, if anyone knows anything about the food of western Iberia then it’s limited to nata tarts, tinned fish and port. This will all change if Taberna do Mercado has anything to say about it. The child of Nuno Mendes, one of the...
More from The Picky Glutton »
Nuno Mendes, formerly of Viajante and currently of Chiltern Firehouse fame, has opened this Portuguese restaurant in the nice half of Spitalfields Market. Like you, I’m not particularly au fait with Portuguese cuisine either, but it turned it to be rather brilliant.We arrived on a Saturday lunch and were only offered an outside table which was pleasant, apart from the paper napkins. I hate it when inside get the real deal but outside are left to suffer with paper towels!...
More from Samphire and Salsify »
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