East London welcomes the best that Portugal has to offer with the arrival of acclaimed chef Nuno Mendes’ Taberna do Mercado to the Old Spitalfields Market. The dishes, the wine, and much of the interior comes from the Iberian country, with a small plates menu from head chef, Negrais native Antonio Galapito that acts as a showcase for the best of Portuguese growers and produce.
Mendes’ all-day dining restaurant’s laid-back yet smart design comes from Joao Guedes Ramos and Clarise Faria, who have created a look akin to a typical although updated village taverna. There’s a mix of smaller contemporary Portuguese marble-topped tables (from Estremoz) and larger, rustic old wooden ones, attended by classic Rabo de Bacalhau chairs inside and Goncalo numbers outside on the terrace. More material from the home country can be found in the cork that surrounds the cement-topped bar. A secret wine room doubles as an exclusive chef’s table for four, and talking of wine, the cellar at Taberna do Mercado stocks a wide variety of Portuguese wines, including vintages going back to the 1970s, with a focus on small independent producers.