Railways are generally good for three things:
1) Giving toddler train junkies their high.
2) Getting you from A to B.
3) Providing cool, atmospheric archways for all-new food, drink, and entertainment hubs.
Benjamin Scrimgeour’s Flat Iron Square project has seen six mighty railway arches, a courtyard made over disused land and a listed Georgian townhouse transform into a 40,000 sq ft hub of restaurants, bars and arts venues, forming the first part of South London’s new ‘Low Line’ development (think Manhattan’s High Line, only… lower).
Wander in from one of London Bridge’s backstreets and you’ll be met with festoon lighting strung across the yard, music emanating from every corner, a convivial hubbub from the al fresco tables and wafts of mouthwatering street food escaping the tunnels themselves.
Here’s what you’ll find there…
STREET FOOD & RESTAURANTS | BARS | THINGS TO DO | LIVE MUSIC
STREET FOOD & RESTAURANTS
There is a lot to choose from here. Not only are there various street food trucks and stalls set up in the yard (Bittenclub’s Vietnamese-French fusion, chicken friers Motherclucker, and Levantine fare from Laffa); there’s also permanent restaurants and residency kitchens built into the arches themselves, namely…
Where The Pancakes Are – Queen of fried batter, Patricia Trijbits, has found her first permanent home for this festival favourite. And yes, this is most certainly where you’ll find the pancakes – stacks of sweet and savoury buttermilk numbers topped with unusually delicious toppings like poached kumquats and caramelised pineapple. READ MORE
Bar Douro – Portuguese tapas wizard Tiago Santos heads up the kitchen here, which dishes out small plates like smoked sausage croquettes, octopus with sweet potato and grilled quail with pine nuts. You can also learn all about the country’s famed custard tarts by eating one. READ MORE
Lupins – A beautifully decorated spot that has one strict criteria for its dishes: that they use in-season ingredients. Otherwise, it’s anything goes, drawing on culinary influences from the Middle East to Mexico. READ MORE
Baz & Fred – A pair of young pizzaioli trying to make their way in this crazy world, armed with only San Marzano tomatoes and a bespoke pizza oven made by Baz’s personal engineer/godfather.
Ekachai – A kitchen hoping to recreate the greatest hits of Asian street food stalls, from Indonesian nasi goreng to pad thai and siu mai buns, with a daily changing specials board.
EDū – A ‘mixto’ bar that combines traditional Spanish techniques and ingredients with ideas borrowed from other cuisines, from a former Bao and Chiltern Firehouse chef.
La Nonna – a pasta bar serving the likes of oxtail pappardelle, beneath swaying bunches of garlic.
Savage Salads – A salad bar boxing up healthy lunches with a little more punch than your usual.
Tatami Ramen – Delicious, award-winning ramen, all the way from er, Barcelona, with off-the-beaten-path flavours like spicy kimchi and cockle.
You can top-up your merriment at Flat Iron Square with craft beers and cocktails on tap from ingeniously named drinking spot ‘The Bar’, set under one of the huge open arches and spilling out onto the square on warmer days.
For the winter season, meanwhile, they’ve transformed the entire courtyard into an Alpine den of fun, with a huge Bavarian-style beer house, complete with quizzes and live music nights; as well as bookable private booths dressed up like olde fashionede Victorian shopfronts.
Finally, with an entrance on Union Street to the south of Flat Iron Square is Tap & Bottle – a gorgeously intimate wine bar set in the aforementioned rickety Georgian townhouse, with a secluded roof terrace among the chimneypots, and regular poetry and jazz nights. Pick from their ever-changing array of ten wines on tap, as well as a wider selection of bottles from their cellar.
THINGS TO DO
Besides the flea market shopping, dining, drinking and live music-ing, Flat Iron Square hosts a number of regular events worth checking out too:
MONDAY It’s quiz night in the main lodge, with cash prizes, bar tabs and prosecco to be won.
TUESDAY Find yoga classes in the arches all day, for parents and babies, beginners and yogis.
SATURDAY Raucous craft beer-fuelled games in the garden, including the Ping Pong Vibe-athon, and Pop It Like It’s Hot.
SUNDAY The Brunch Collective roll into town with brunch specials from guest food traders, Bloody Mary masterclasses, massages and vinyl DJs.
To find out what else is on this month, head HERE.
The Flat Iron Square complex also boasts a live music venue, Omeara – brought to you by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons and his independent music label. It’s pretty dang atmospheric – imagine a crumbling Victorian music hall hidden away underneath a set of railway arches, with its own tequila bar attached. Expect a wide array of programming from indie club nights and comedy, to thought-provoking talks, gigs, and burlesque.
So if extreme fun is what you’re after … you’re under the right track.
NOTE: Flat Iron Square is open all day, every day, from early breakfast to late night drinks – see HERE for more details. You can check out Omeara‘s events programme HERE.
Flat Iron Square | 68 Union Street, SE1 1TD
Last Updated: 24th July 2020
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