For the last few weeks the talk of town in Lisbon has been the opening of JNcQuoi. Bang in the middle of Avenida da Liberdade, and housed in the beaux arts Tivoli Theatre, the restaurant/delibar/menswear shop had been fiddling with lisbonites expectations for the better part of 2017.The anticipation was palpable, the buzz unavoidable, and as after a fortnight the more eager heard of urban victims wasn’t giving any sign of easing up on the instagram hysteria, I opted for lunch.
Acclaimed Catalan interior architect Lazaro Rosa Violan, applied his signature eclectic approach to timeless luxury and charm to this ambitious plan combining a street level restaurant, in the style of classic European grand cafés; a deli bar, complete with Laduree and Assouline corners; and the flagship Fashion Clinic Menswear shop in the basement.
Antonio Boia, the larger than life chef behind what could easily be considered Portugal’s loveliest kitchen, created a heart-warming bistro menu combining international standards with Portuguese classics, generously served, and lovingly presented.
Paula Amorim, the entrepreneur behind Fashion Clinic, together with her husband Miguel Guedes de Sousa, one of Portugal’s leading hoteliers, didn’t disappoint. They have delivered, in a single stroke of genius and swagger, an instant classic and a perennial bar raise for whatever comes up next.
Miguel, a self-proclaimed Adrian Zecha pupil, with a decades long career at Aman Resorts, envisioned this space as a contemporary gentlemen’s Club, an all in one destination for the sophisticated urbanite (which is just missing a barber shop, though Fashion Clinic stocks a whole lot of Byredo and Tom Ford). “The guest is the architect”, he tells us, “so studying the flow of people inside was crucial”. Theatrics plays a role too.
The bathroom rotunda surrounding the DJ cabin, or the Jurassic skeleton in the restaurant are bound to become Instagram classics. But if there’s one thing you can expect from a former Aman manager is service, and JNcQuoi doesn’t disappoint. “This is elitism for all, a place where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable, while experiencing a great meal with great service”.
JNcQuoi doesn’t shy away from tourists, who Miguel feels are crucial to the feel of the place: “We want the tourists to feel like locals and the locals to feel like tourists”. An hotel is definitely in the cards. “it’s the logical next step for this concept. We’re definitely looking around”. And I’m definitely coming back.
Address: Av. Liberdade, 182-184 Lisbon