News Ticker

Acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes to launch neighbourhood restaurant and bar in Porto this spring

Cozinha das Flores and Flôr

On 16th February, acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes will open the doors to a neighbourhood restaurant and bar in Largo de São Domingos, the riverside, historic centre of Porto. The restaurant, Cozinha das Flores will celebrate the food culture, wines, techniques, and ingredients of the North. The adjacent 12-seat bar, Flôr, will embrace a fun and contemporary take on Portugal’s global food culture, serving a light breakfast in the morning and a menu of inventive cocktails through day and night, with mixologist Tatiana Cardoso at the helm. Cozinha das Flores and Flôr form part of adjoining sister project, The Largo — 18 rooms across 5 heritage buildings — that will open later this year.

Whilst much of Nuno’s childhood was spent in his hometown of Lisbon and the nearby Alentejo region, his mother’s family are from the North of Portugal. The years of research and development leading up to this opening saw Nuno embark on a personal journey of discovery, throughout which he unearthed and nurtured a deep connection with the city of Porto and its people. The culmination of this journey is manifested at Cozinha das Flores — a joyful and harmonious intersection between community, craft, creativity, heritage and food.

In Nuno’s words;

“my hope is that both Cozinha das Flores and Flôr will become an integral part of the city of Porto, a ‘home’ for both locals and visitors alike; a welcoming, convivial and bohemian experience suitable for anytime of the day or occasion. We’ve given a lot of thought to our offering and space, but I really would love our guests to come out of Cozinha das Flores and say, ‘man, this place is fun!”

Under the creative direction of Nuno Mendes, Cozinha das Flores will champion the region and showcase the expansive and generous gastronomy of Northern Portugal. Inspired by traditions, the menu is a sunny meeting of new and old techniques that, according to Nuno, “will have a true dialogue with the city.” Signature dishes include Sweet prawn and steamed egg cake with presunto balchão — Nuno’s creative take on the classic Pão de Ló, a dish from 15th century Japan and is a staple dessert across Portugal today. Turnip Natas, transform the iconic nata into a savoury wonder — the sweet, crispy pastry case becoming a vessel for creamy turnip custard topped with fresh caviar; Giant squid noodles with white beans and cod tripe stew, fragrant with citrus and dill, is an unusual combination of produce for the North — demonstrative of Nuno’s signature flair. For mains, there will be Grilled pork, cabbage and enchidos – a traditional Portuguese charcuterie and Grilled John Dory, poached and fermented greens, smoked butter, fish roe sauce. Nuno’s favourite dessert, Milk, harks back to his childhood working on a dairy farm with his father; delicate, creamy and comforting — like a chilled glass of fresh milk.

Naturally, the rich history of Porto and its surrounding oenological geography make wine central to the offering at Cozinha das Flores, with an impressive collection that will champion wines from the Northern region of Portugal. The list reads beautifully — a nuanced balance of old vintages and historic producers such as Niepoort and Luis Pato, who are dear friends of Nuno, sit alongside contemporary, low-intervention players in the Portuguese wine scene, such as Paraíso Natural and Mateus Nicolau de Almeida.

For the bar, Flôr, Tatiana’s curation of the cocktail menu is inspired by Portuguese culture and gastronomy, at the same time drawing upon modern mixology techniques from countries further afield, including some unexpected Japanese references. For example, the cocktail Clichèd includes gin, cod, coriander, apple and amaranth, all which are in Tatiana’s words, ‘clichés’ of Portugal’s gastronomic landscape. Cod is so synonymous with Portuguese cuisine, and Tatiana wanted to incorporate it into one of Flôr’s signature cocktails; using a rotovap to extract the essence of the flavour, she creates a distillation reminiscent of the sea – salty yet refreshing – and uses this as the foundation of the cocktail.

Space Copenhagen have designed the restaurant and bar as well as sister project, The Largo, and were appointed by the project’s founders Annassurra – a Danish travel and hospitality collective headed up by Per and Steen — who first earmarked the neighbourhood, Largo de São Domingos, in 2016. Since then, Cozinha das Flores, Flôr and The Largo have gone on to establish deep and purposeful relationships with local craftspeople, artists, academics and cultural mavens. These relationships are prevalent throughout the three concepts, each nurturing its own unique process with Portuguese artists and craftspeople who have collaborated closely with in-house teams, forging meaningful pieces that have become the very fabric of the venue.

One such collaborator is Álvaro Siza, a renowned Pritzker Prize Portuguese architect from Porto. Whilst Siza has created many pieces of non-architectural works worldwide, he had never created something of this kind for his hometown of Porto. When the idea was formed to install a mural as a central element of the restaurant interior, the team at Cozinha das Flores were determined that he would be the artist; they were duly humbled that he accepted. When asked to imagine a piece for Cozinha das Flores, he depicted the recurrent theme of musicians, representing time well spent; fun, relaxed moments; a medley of emotions; and people joined by arts and culture. Siza skilfully brings all this to life through a tiled mural that is situated at the heart of of Cozinha das Flores, for Portuguese and travellers alike to enjoy.

Porto, as the second-largest city in Portugal, has a great deal to offer both locals and visitors, and Cozinha das Flores and Flôr aim to celebrate and champion it in all its deserved glory. Nuno says, “I believe one of the most meaningful ways to connect to a place and its people is through food and drink; our aim with Cozinha das Flores and Flôr is to really capture the essence of the region and strike a balance between creativity and authenticity”.

Cozinha das Flores and Flôr will open at 62 Largo de São Domingos on 16th February.