Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes has jumped on the crowdfunding bandwagon and is hoping to raise £1.75 million, in order to reopen his Michelin-starred restaurant ‘Viajante’ on the banks of the Thames.
Mendes, the chef responsible for turning the Chiltern Firehouse into a celebrity destination, closed his original Viajante restaurant in Bethnal Green in February of last year, after gaining a Michelin star within eight months of opening. Now, he wants to reopen it – on the ground floor of the Metropolitan Wharf in Wapping, and with the support and investment of his friends, diners and fans.
Nuno said: “As many of you who I have had a chance to meet may know, Viajante was a very special project for myself and the team, a project that we were all incredibly proud of and extremely sad to have to end. We all believed that the restaurant was going from strength to strength at the time of closing and ever since I have been committed to launching it one day.”
The minimum investment is set at just £10, although those investing larger amounts will gain a variety of rewards ranging from priority booking to dinner for 12 hosted by Nuno himself. The £1.75 million target will be spent on kitting out the restaurant building and on upfront costs – and will be in exchange for a third of his business, 33.33 percent.
The restaurant will have an outdoor terrace overlooking the river, where guests can arrive by boat. Mendes chose Wapping over other restaurant spots such as Mayfair and Soho to attract a more local crowd; the area boasts many new residential developments and the restaurant aims to place a Michelin-starred restaurant on the doorstep of its affluent neighbours.
Mendes said of the project:
“We have now secured an amazing location and we have decided to launch Viajante through an equity crowdfunding platform because we want to give our friends and supporters, the people of London, Portugal and from around the world, a chance to become part of making our dream a reality, while also sharing in the planned success.”
“We could have done it with major financial backers but I want to do it in a democratic way,” says Mendes, who will stay on as executive chef at the Chiltern Firehouse. “I love the idea that anyone who has been to Viajante or liked Taberna or the Firehouse has the chance to participate.”