Nuno Mendes: how to throw the ultimate dinner party

Steve Dinneen
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When Krug decided to host an event based around the concept of happiness, they called on Nuno Mendes, the experimental Michelin-starred chef behind Bethnal Green’s Viajante restaurant. The ambitious project aimed to create the ultimate dining experience – helped along, of course, by some of Krug’s finest fizz. We caught up with Mendes to ask him how you go about creating the ultimate feel-good food.

“The concept is very similar to the super club I used to run, called the Loft Project,” he says. “It is a very personal thing – it’s a big team cooking for just 16 people at a time. It means you can interact with and get to know your guests, spend the night with them. The communal dining set-up is great – I like the idea of a dinner party. In London people are so busy and it can be difficult to organise. This is especially hard for people who are not from the UK, who are used to sitting around a big table with their friends and family.

“It took months to set up. Krug wanted to have a really high-impact event. I designed the menu, Krug brought the champagne and we sat and worked out which fitted each course best.

“Hosting the event was a lot of work and there were a lot of changes in the matching.”

To make things even more personal, guests were asked to fill in a questionnaire listing things like their favourite flower, and the music that makes them feel happiest, which were then hidden around the venue.

“The questionnaire was to add that little something extra to the evening,” says Mendes. “We wanted to get to know a little more about our guests, add some special little touches.

“Some of the food was inspired by memories, some by emotions. We were working with the idea of creating an emotional response.”

Nuno Mendes is the head chef at Bethnal Green’s Viajante. To reserve a table call 020 7871 0461 or log on to