One of the defining aspects of any artistic endeavor is its reliance on intuition. It all began in 2015, when Chef Vincent Farges was about to leave Lisbon for Barbados. At a farewell party held at what was then the bulthaup showroom in the Chiado, Pedro Mendonça and Vincent Farges had a revelation: it could be the perfect space for a restaurant. That affinity of ideas that exemplify the bulthaup spirit –a passion for gastronomy, the experiences that arise around a table, the pleasure of sharing, the importance of durability, aesthetic emotions—coupled with values such as authenticity, led to this place for confluence, this dream come true at last.
The challenge of an all-encompassing project
Leonardo da Vinci said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” But simplicity in the arts, including cuisine, involves a painstaking process that can only be achieved by casting off all superfluous elements and paring things down to their essence. That is the aim of the latest culinary endeavor of Vincent Farges and Fernanda and Pedro Mendonça the owners of bulthaup Desenhabitado.
Everything in the new restaurant contributes to sensory elevation through a quest for simplicity, from its haute cuisine to its architecture, design, and bulthaup equipment.
An impeccable setting
As you walk through the imposing iron and glass door, you enter a corridor, flanked by a cubist partition through which you can glimpse the striking white-and-steel bulthaup kitchen –fulfilling the requirements of haute cuisine and occupying close to 100 m2 of the total 240 m2 surface area– and reach the lounge and aperitif area. At the back, facing east, the two rooms that make up the dining area, a stunning view unfolds before your eyes: the houses and rooftops of the Chiado and the majestic estuary of the Tagus.
The light, the understated colors, the delicate oak furniture, the leather details, organic forms and century-old wall tiles make for a subdued atmosphere where nothing has been left to chance.
Sea, river, orchard, meadows, land
The restaurant’s philosophy is closely bound to its suppliers: the restaurant depends on them, and not the other way around. Therefore, Epur lacks a menu in the usual sense. Guests are presented with an indication of nine dishes, without descriptions, divided into groups of three starters (Water, Greens, Meadows), three main courses (From the Sea or Ria, From the Land, Tradition) and three desserts (Chocolate, Orchard, Vintage).
The nine dishes are adapted to seasonal and daily ingredients, depending on what the producers have available: a true daily challenge that recovers the changing seasons and naturally-ripened produce, and of which Vincent Farges notes, “clearly there is no better way to exercise creativity than to defy it every day.”
Epur’s opening highlights Lisbon’s rising profile in the world of fine dining. The creativity of chef Vincent Farges, jointly with a unique setting, a subdued, sensitive design that elicits serenity, and an impeccable bulthaup kitchen, together make the new restaurant the perfect place for the unhurried enjoyment of the senses.