The Residence, Monda and the next concept in Lisbon. The new life of chef João Rodrigues
In 2024, it will open a self-sufficient concept that will be “more than a restaurant”. This year there will be something new in the capital.
João Rodrigues worked for 13 years at Feitoria, the restaurant with a Michelin star at the Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, in Lisbon. Abandoned cargo in April 2022 and, since then, he has been dedicated to the materialization of other dreams. The first is called Residence and will last a year, culminating in the opening of a new one and intends to be a space for restoration (but not only). It will be called Monda.
“It’s a life project and it’s much more than a restaurant. It’s a way of being ”, she begins by telling. The name describes the traditional process of clearing weeds. “It will be outside Lisbon, in the West zone“, advances. Despite not revealing the exact location, he shared other details about the project with NiT.
“It is more conceptual, of identity and global experience”, he describes. It will be a “more creative” space. There, the experience begins the moment customers walk through the door. The concept will be much more than a restaurant — it will also have a small accommodation where you can stay overnight. “It will be like a house where we feel the people who visit us”, he summarizes.
Monda, which is due to open in 2024, will have “many valences”. They will raise their own animals and grow their own legumes — the goal is to seek self-sufficiency. The multifaceted concept “will make the most of local products”, guarantees João Rodrigues.
Before this opening next year, the chef will launch another novelty soon. Tin planada a large opening in the capital, more specifically in Rua da Junqueira. “The idea is that it opens during the summer”, he adds, without indicating specific data. And he adds: “These things always depend on the timing of the works”.
The concept will be different from Monda. “It will be a small space, where you can go every day. We want it to be a neighborhood restaurant reminiscent of those more old-fashioned, with dynamics, noise and movement. People coming and going, with home and comfort food, with good products”, he reveals. It will be, basically, “a kind of tavern” with dishes cooked mostly in the oven and “almost all of them from our country”.
However, before all this, João will travel around the country, exploring the flavors of the different regions. The Residence “is a rather old idea that bets on a wider context”. He knew that there would be “a relatively large window of time” between leaving the restaurant where the service was served and opening the doors. own spaces, he explains.
The Residences will set up camps in characteristic and emblematic buildings, which for a few days will be transformed into temporary restaurants. In each one, typical dishes of the region will be cooked using local ingredients. The journey begins on January 20th and will last around 12 months, passing through 12 different spots.
Boticas, in Trás-os-Montes, will be the starting point. “I had already been to this region at the invitation of another project. I ended up establishing friendships and I fell in love with the area”, he recalls. In January, the typical slaughter of the pig in the region is carried out and the stews that will be made with it will be the protagonists of this first itinerant restaurant by João Rodrigues.
“The logic is then to go down through the country”, he describes. Some data are still being closed, but reveal that the next destination will be Minho. The Residence does not have a predetermined formula, and each stop will be different. The characteristic common to all will be the type of spaces where the restaurants will operate: emblematic places that “refer to the imaginary, such as manor houses, bewildering buildings and castles”.
The tour will not pass through the capital, as the chef is from Lisbon, but a surrounding region seems like a good option. “Porto is also a possibility, and we are going to try to be in Estremadura”, he says. The Residence could be in a district capital and, a few weeks later, in a small, almost unknown village. “They will always be different and unusual spaces”, he assures.
It is one of the biggest challenges of your career, which requires a lot of preparation and requires logistical logistics. Difficulties that don’t scare you, only motivate you. He will have the opportunity to travel and cook throughout the country, something that inspired him “an enormous sense of freedom”, he predicts.
“It’s unfair not to be able to make more locations, but it will be a good starting point”, he emphasizes. And he adds: “Portugal has enormous wealth and we must draw attention to that”.