Back to Bistro
Bistro doors reopened on 12.03.2022
It took five long months of renovation works, of changes, to bring a new life into every corner of this house. It is the rebirth of what has become a classic restaurant in Lisbon, opened in 2010 in a building with many, many decades of history. It was an opportunity to realize how much we miss this Bistro. And to find ourselves again, in the same place as always, with the same soul, with a new face and a fresh spirit. With Bistro’s heart beating, again, in tune with the city. We are one again. We are 100 and – no matter how many stones are broken, how many lights are added or how many walls are transformed – that will never change.
The idea was simple: to give Bistro a much-deserved lifting and revamp the food and bar menus.
Opened in September 2010, in the Art Déco building that once served as home to restaurants such as Tavares Pobre or Bachus, Bistro 100 Maneiras is the oldest restaurant of the group led by “portuguese-yugoslavian” chef Ljubomir Stanisic. The one that won the title of World number 1 at the Monocle Restaurant Awards, in 2017. The one that was chosen by the late Anthony Bourdain to be part of the “No Reservations” episode dedicated to Lisbon, in 2011. The one that won cocktail awards thanks to its bar full of curves, an unavoidable part of this house’s identity. The one that has hosted wine events, movie cycles, art auctions, truffle festivals, Yugoslavian parties, years of laughter, tears, explosions, drunkenness, friendships, quarrels, loves and losses.
It is on these walls that we can read much of what the last 12 years of our lives have been. The best and the worst part of it. And it was these walls that we wanted to honor, rescuing them from time, giving them the care, attention and affection that 12 years of work deserve.
So, we tear them down. With affection, of course. Walls, ceilings… – it was all transformed. To allow Bistro to reborn, like a phoenix, not from the ashes, but from the absolute chaos it became for five months.
A HEART THAT KEEPS BEATING, TRANSFORMED
No stone was left unturned. In the kitchen, in addition to the transformed space, the equipments were also replaced, with the support of Fagor and Loja dos Cozinheiros. In the dining rooms, the major transformations were handed to Mário Belém, an almost-resident artist of Bistro, whose history of collaboration with the group and chef Ljubomir cannot be counted on the fingers of both hands, and Rebeca Perez, interior designer from Tabula Rasa Design Studio.
At 12 years old, it was Bistro’s maturity, its character as a classic that doesn’t lose its irreverence, its eccentricity and its ability to surprise, which was highlighted. “I think we’re growing, maturing. We are keeping the playful tone we’ve always had, but in a less massive and more sober, adult, elegant and sophisticated way,” explains Mário Belém.
“Arrebenta Coração” (Exploding Heart), the huge heart drawn on books and cut threw by real cleavers which has been Bistro’s brand image since 2015 – and, probably, the most shared photography on social media by those who visited it – is the perfect example of that growth. And the only request made by the group to Mário Belém: that the heart wouldn’t disappear completely. In its place, a new 3D heart appeared, in Nordic pine and illuminated by leds, to which gigantic wooden knives and cleavers merge, across the ceiling towards the bar, replacing the books that covered the walls until then.
Also new is the counter along the shelves, where various pine light boxes reproduce the idea of the “grandfather’s library”, a mix of experiences and stories where there is no lack of references to the life of Ljubomir Stanisic, like an image of the chef swimming among tuna, another in which he appears fleeing the war and, of course, sensual elements that could not be missed to illustrate the universe of the Yugoslavian-made-Portuguese chef. “I wanted to explain the reasoning behind when you have an idea to make a dish. When you get those references you’ve collected throughout your life and mix everything together, things that are completely incongruous, and then translate that into a dish and the result is a mixture of sensations and emotions. This is where the connection to the heart comes from, which also symbolizes the best ideas, which are always those that come from the heart”, says Belém.
In the dining room next to the kitchen, the more than 800 bulbs hanging from the ceiling are what attracts attention the most. When the designer Rebeca Pérez thought of the idea, she estimated it would be necessary to place 240 bulbs, but what seemed to be a straightforward work quickly become anything but that…
The timeless green Chesterfield sofa in the entrance and the golden brass which surrounds the bar counter were the inspiration for Bistro’s new colors, making a presence across the entire space, whether in the upholstery created by Rebeca or on the ceiling in the first floor, which, according to the interior designer, was the biggest challenge of all. “It was quite complicated because the ceiling is so low that we couldn’t use any kind of pendant light. We wanted to illuminate and enlarge the space without using mirrors, because that was already the previous solution. We tried three different solutions, but the structure of the ceiling was very damaged, it was impossible to fix heavy parts… So I decided to stop fighting against the imperfections and accept them, following a little bit the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. We rediscovered the original structure, recovered it and wanted to expose it. I remembered the oculus on the dome of the Roman Pantheon, an enormous hole where the light goes through, and we reproduced it – a brass leaf ring that reflects the light, illuminating the entire space without blocking passage and movement”.
CONQUERING LISBON THROUGH THE STOMACH, AGAIN
In addition to the changes in the interiors, the menus were also reinvented by the team led by executive chef Manuel Maldonado, in a tribute to classic cuisine which keeps the bold spirit of 100 Maneiras very present. Luck favors the bold, they say, and after five months of building works, after a pandemic, and going through a war… all luck is more than welcome. While maintaining some classics which make part of Bistro’s identity, such as the Yugoslavian Burek with cheese and spinach, the Spicy octopus with honey or the Cheese foam and guava, the biggest difference lies in two facts:
– a daily menu, with seasonal products, proteins of the day ready to go to the grill and the return of the “No Questions Asked” section, with guts, offal and other unconventional suggestions;
– and a fixed menu where, besides from starters, classics (the so-called Top 100) and desserts, there are different side dishes, organized by categories, to be combined (or not) as you wish with different daily suggestions. Rice, potatoes, vegetables and sauces that can be ordered to shine solo or share the spotlight with the different proteins available.
If the kitchen brings several news, the same thing happened at Bistro’s Bar. The new cocktail menu created by João Sancheira, the group’s head bartender, named Bartender of the Year 2021 in the World Class competition, is made up of 12 cocktails that reflect the essence of Bistro using natural ingredients, with the imaginary of Alice in Wonderland serving as the motto for the journey and Tiago Maya’s illustrations guiding every step of the way. The cocktails are the main characters of this parallel universe in liquid form, such as Sage Pumpkin, with Monkey Shoulder, sage, pumpkin, passion fruit and spices; Queen of Hearts, with Hendrick’s Orbium, Noilly Prat, Martini Ambrati, cider vinegar, raspberry and watermelon; or Nut Coconut, created with Brugal Añejo, “gunpowder” green tea, toasted black sesame and coconut. These creations join a handful of signature cocktails that are already part of Bistro’s identity – such as Red Hot Guava, Hulk or Damn!!!! That’s Good – and some unmissable classic cocktails.
Still in the liquid chapter, several changes were also made to the wine list, designed by Miguel Santos, wine and front-office manager, to mark a change of direction. Although the mandatory references are still present, the goal was to bring not-so-famous names to this new wine list: new, young producers, small wineries and those who work with smaller quantities, but also wines from all over the world (international wines represent around 60% of the almost 350 references on the list). The idea is to allow Bistro’s customers to find a unique experience, surprising and impactful – a reflection, after all, of what this Bistro is.
CHANGE THAT CAN BE SEEN AND FELT
We have changed outside, we have changed inside. And the change has also happened at the most basic level of who we are – our identity.
After 12 years, Bistro 100 Maneiras’ old logo (signed by Mário Belém) was transformed to reflect the maturity and history of this house but also to underline the difference between this space and Restaurant 100 Maneiras, in Bairro Alto – a common confusion which many times led people to the wrong address.
“We were inspired by the space, by the Art Deco lines, which are not only on the facade of the building but also inside, in the materials, and we felt it made sense to bring this into the concept of the logo and the whole graphic line”, explains Gil Correia, creative director of Partners, who launched an internal challenge to create a new image for Bistro. Among dozens of suggestions, Lopo Carvalho’s was the chosen one: a logo that refers not only to the Art Deco essence of the space but also to the Roaring Twenties, “which is very much what goes on inside Bistro”, and which materializes in the same colors and materials found in the interior – green and gold. The change also extended to the menus, with brass printing, and to different graphic elements that can be seen decorating the space, such as eyes, birds, knives and skulls, which find inspiration not only in the Art Deco period but in the universe of Bistro and chef Ljubomir Stanisic.
At the tables, we find old and new friends, in a meeting between Le Creuset pieces, which have been part of Bistro’s service practically since the beginning, and the tableware made from traditional-inspired processes by the brand Maria – Portugal Terracota, from Villacer, a company represented by an old friend, Paulo Soares.
The team uniforms are also different, designed by the Portuguese brand wetheknot, a sustainable clothing and accessories brand created in 2010 by designers Sérgio Gameiro and Filipe Cardigos, focusing on a range of minimalist pieces created with sustainable and high quality materials, for greater durability and a lower impact on the planet.
All of this packed to the sound of the new playlist organized by Nuno Faria, partner and F&B manager of the group, which is made up of our kind of classics from all over the world – Portugal and Bosnia included, of course.
The new Bistro is open from Thursday to Monday, from 6:30 pm to 2 am, and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 6:30 pm to 2 am.
Reservations can be made by telephone (+351 910 307 575), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or online at www.100maneiras.com.