Nuno Mendes to open Maos next week

On September 4, Mãos, the restaurant dining room at Blue Mountain School in Shoreditch, will open for its first public season.

Mãos was conceived by Nuno Mendes and his partner James Brown, founder of Blue Mountain School, following a chance meeting at Mendes' The Loft project where they discovered a shared interest in redefining the traditional restaurant experience.

On the first floor of Blue Mountain School’s interdisciplinary space, which occupies a six-story townhouse, Mãos is an intimate experience, free from the trappings of conventional dining. Guests will be served Nuno’s progressive cooking around a communal table, which he describes as being ‘more like a dinner party than a traditional restaurant’.

A glass-surrounded central staircase connects Mãos to the rest of the light-filled Blue Mountain School, which includes Blue Projects, an exhibition space, and Hostem, an archive with a focus on clothing, art and objects.

The dining room itself, designed by 6a Architects, comprises a kitchen, large table, and wine room, which are fluidly connected and lit by a low hanging barra d'oro lamp by Peter Zumthor.

Guests are encouraged to explore the stripped-back space as they dine together, interacting with Nuno and his team as they prepare 14 courses, drawing influences from Europe and the wider continents, but free from classical distinctions.

Nuno will be joined in the kitchen by head chef Edoardo Pellicano, formerly of Portland and Viajante, and together with Alex Casey, formerly of Sager + Wilde and Viajante, they will welcome up to sixteen guests per sitting at ‘matinée’ afternoon services on Saturdays, and dinner throughout the week.

Dishes and snacks will include smoked celeriac dashi with wasabi leaf oil; lobster and roasted kombu chawanmushi; slow-grilled Iberico pork with nukazake carrots and sour carrot jus; and aged turbot grilled in magnolia leaf, seaweed and Roscoff onion soubise.

There will also be sweeter dishes of eggy farófias, a take on Portuguese poached meringues; and a barley kojiand honey capping ice cream with tiger lemon oil. In the adjoining wine room, holding bottles with a focus on a clean approach to winemaking chosen by Casy, guests will be welcome to drop in and choose bottles based on their tastes, rather than wines being paired to each dish.

On Saturdays, guests will round off the experience with after-dinner drinks on the Blue Mountain School’s rooftop terrace.

Mendes said, ‘We have the immense freedom to be able to produce the food we want to serve, each and every day, which means it’s always exciting for us in the kitchen. It’s hospitality in a pure form: an experience at Mãos is truly what the guests make it, which is why it’s so unpredictable and unique each day.

'Mãos was created with the humble dinner party in mind,’ says James. ‘It’s a space where people can gather around a table and enjoy themselves, engaging with each other and the beautiful space around them. That’s why we encourage guests to come into the kitchen, and to chat with the chefs – we don’t want any barriers in the room.

'We don’t present a bill afterwards; it’s arranged separately, so each evening flows without any disruptions'.