Casa do Frango London Bridge
Hattie Lloyd 20/04/23
As far as dining neighbourhoods go, London Bridge has all the ingredients for success.
A great location; an unparalleled number of abandoned railway arches ripe for conversion into edgy small plates restaurants; and literally a load of ingredients – courtesy of the world-famous Borough Market.
Orbiting this hub of fresh produce and artisanal goods you’ll find iconic hand-rolled pasta spots; high-end peri peri chicken restaurants with hidden bars; casual taco joints under railway tracks and romantic, effortlessly cool wine bars serving daily-changing seasonal fare.
So here they are: the best restaurants in London Bridge.
First on our list is the long-awaited debut from Ex-Fat Duck Head Chef Jonny Lake and Ex-Fat Duck Head Sommelier Isa Bal – a warmly-lit, retro-styled wine bar and restaurant serving up a menu of beautifully crafted, mostly European dishes, alongside a list over 350 wines, all hand-picked to pair perfectly with every new dish.
Details: 36 Snowsfields, Bermondsey, SE1 3SU | Book here
A village near Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka and… Coventry. If you’re wondering what the link is here, these two places formed the childhood of Cynthia Shanmugalingam, and now the inspiration behind her debut restaurant in Borough Market, Rambutan, where the chef-author is fondly revisiting her roots by cooking up the likes of beef & bone marrow rolls, sticky chicken pongal rice and big pots of black pork curry, over an open kitchen. And to cleanse the palate? There’s a soft-serve machine turning out Tamil flavours like tamarind and ginger…
Details: 10 Stoney Street, SE1 9AD | Book here
Joké & Friends
If you don’t know Adejoké Bakare, she ran Chishuru, which was one of Brixton’s best restaurants – that blew everyone away with terrific West African dishes – until it closed last year. The great news is that she’s found a new home already (Fitzrovia), the not-so-great news is that it still won’t open for a while (hopefully towards in the end of summer) and swinging wildly back to great news again is the fact that she’s found a temporary home at the Globe Tavern in Borough Market to fill the void until then.
Details: Until 1st July 2023 | The Globe Tavern, 8 Bedale St, SE1 9AL | Book here
Trullo took the success of their critically acclaimed, constantly packed Islington restaurant and distilled it into a buzzy, effortlessly cool eatery right opposite London Bridge station. The result is Padella: unequivocally home to some of the best fresh pasta in London. They don’t take reservations, and the queues are still insane years after opening – but if you’re within 2km of the restaurant, you can queue virtually using the WalkUp app (and go for a drink at Tap & Bottle in the meantime). Trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Details: 6 Southwark Street, SE1 1TQ | Book here
For those who haven’t had the cliché-wrecking pleasure of a kebab at the original Soho outpost of Berenjak, it’s a JKS joint (they of BAO, Gymkhana, Hoppers, and BiBi fame) serving up Tehrani-style food in a relatively small space. This London Bridge followup, however, is anything but, slotting into the lofty old Flor space right by the entrance to Borough Market…
Details: 1 Bedale St, SE1 9AL | Book here
The Douro Valley makes some of the best wine in Portugal. And Bar Douro makes for one of the best spots to enjoy it. Housed in an old railway arch, this gorgeous, azulejo-tiled London Bridge restaurant is the ideal spot for a sophisticated bite and a slosh of good wine. Expect regional tapas-style classics like smoked Portuguese sausage croquettes, chargrilled sardines with padrón peppers and mouthwatering salt cod fritters.
Details: Arch 35b, 85B Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 0NQ | Book here
Our father, who art heaven, Tacos Padre be thy name. That’s how it goes right? Not only does Tacos Padre serve up some of the softest, hand-made tortillas in the city – topped with all sorts of slow-cooked meat and housemate pickles and sauces – in the evenings their tiny kiosk in Borough Market transforms into a fully-fledged al fresco restaurant, fitted out with with colourful table and chairs, potted plants, festoon lighting, and an even bigger, better menu, including some seriously epic sharers. 300g of carne asada rib-eye, with burnt spring onion, beef adobo, and grilled bone marrow anyone?
Details: Borough Market Kitchen, Winchester Walk, Jubilee Place, London Bridge, SE1 9AG | Book here
Right in the thick of it under the arches of Borough Market, Turnips isn’t your ordinary fruit-and-veg slinger. With a bit of British ingenuity, the grocer rejigged a shipping container out the back into a fully-fledged kitchen where Tomas Lidakevicious (former exec chef at Jason Atherton’s City Social) thinks up unique tasting menus and small plates that showcase the stall’s produce in all their green glory.
Details: 43 Borough Market, London SE1 9AH | Book here
Elliot’s, Borough Market
Elliot’s makes the most of its enviable location opposite Borough Market, utilising ingredients from the historical market’s traders and turning them into a continuously changing menu of wood fired grill dishes and seasonal small plates. You sit just as well as you eat here too; either inside under the cosy glow of a glass roof or when the weather purrs, out on the pavement where one can observe the street action with a glass of natural wine and preferably, their fabled Isle of Mull cheese puffs (always get the cheese puffs).
Details: 12 Stoney Street, SE1 9AD | Book here
Parrillan Borough Yards
As with its North London sibling (called, unsurprisingly, Parrillan), Parillian Borough Yards is evenly split between al fresco & indoor areas. Wherever you end up, you’ll find a delectable selection of Spanish treats grilled over an open fire – but if you’re outside, you can get your own miniature grill to self- scorch cuts of pork, too…
Details: 4 Dirty Lane, SE1 9PA | Book here
Barrafina Borough Yards
Right next door, you’ll find the fifth in the Hart Brothers’ growing empire of tapas restaurants, Barrafina. They say you can have too much of a good thing, but it’s simply not possible here: they’ve replicated their tried-and-tested formula of sleek interiors (lots of marble and steel); great Spanish wines; barrel-loads of sherry; and of course, fantastic tapas dishes from head chef and possible culinary deity, Francisco ‘Paco’ Jose Torrico.
Details: 2 Dirty Lane, Borough, SE1 9PA | Book here
El Pastor is Spanish for ‘the shepherd’… so it’s not surprising that people flock to this twinkling, packed-out taqueria. Another Harts Bros enterprise, El Pastor is the first of their three Mexican spots, serving excellent tacos (including their signature ‘al pastor’, with spicy marinated pork), lashings of mezcal-laced cocktails, and a dose of lively cheer exuding from your fellow diners.
Details: 7a Stoney Street, SE1 9AA | Book here
By far the glitziest restaurant in London Bridge, Aqua Shard offers all-day Modern British dining, alongside floor-to-ceiling, 360° views of the city.
Details: 31st Floor, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Book here
40 Maltby Street
It’s another one of those effortlessly cool wine bars, tucked away in a railway arch on Maltby Street. In fact, it’s actually first and foremost the warehouse for independent wine Merchants Gergovie Wines, but then they brought in a handful of simple sharing tables (not to mention a kitchen) which means – as well as buying bottles to go – guests can also sit in and enjoy their hand-picked selection of low-intervention plonk, alongside a daily-changing menu of some pretty special, seasonal small plates.
Details: 40 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA | Walk-in only
Brother Marcus Borough
A brand new addition to the family, Brother Marcus’s London Bridge restaurant sits in the rebooted Borough Yards development. It’s one of the capital’s stand-out brunch spots, with the Eastern Mediterranean influence from the rest of the menu seeping into dishes like the Marcus Breakfast (a Full English upgraded with Merguez sausage and fattoush salad) and smoky shakshuka with labneh and zhoug. The lunch and dinner menu is just as appealing, though, with plenty of ingredients slung onto the sizzling robata grill for a lick of smokiness…
Details: 1 Dirty Lane, London SE1 9PA | Book here
Casse-Croûte is full to the brim with French charm… and not just because it’s one of London’s smallest restaurants. Sporting bentwood chairs, checked tablecloths, Art Nouveau signage, classic bistro dishes and diluvian levels of red wine; it’s a real gem in the treasure chest of London Bridge restaurants. Bring a date, bring your friends, bring your family – just not at the same time, because they won’t fit.
Details: 109 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XB | Book here
Gunpowder. It’s pretty hot right now. That’s because this London Bridge outpost is the sophomore to the celebrated Spitalfields restaurant, serving up more delicious Indian home cooking and cocktails, only in a much bigger space…
Details: 4 Duchess Walk, SE1 2SD | Book here
Casa do Frango
Casa do Frango does peri peri chicken. Properly. Pull up a pew at their gorgeously airy London Bridge restaurant, filled with greenery and little decorative winks (the bar is inspired by the famous trams in Lisbon), and tuck into lip-smacking hunks of perfectly seasoned chargrilled chicken, with sides like African rice (with crispy chicken skin), peri peri garlic prawns, and smokey cauliflower. And before you roll home, head for a nightcap in their hidden bar, The Green Room…
Details: 32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU | Book here
Hawksmoor Borough Market
Hawksmoor has taken an old fruit warehouse in Borough Market, and upgraded it with elegant parquet flooring; buttery soft leather seating; and meat. Specifically, their famed, dictionary-thick hunks of Ginger Pig-reared Yorkshire Longhorn cattle, which here comes with triple-cooked chips, bone marrow oysters, and ‘anti-fogmatic’ cocktails.
Details: 16 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AQ | Book here
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