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Polished Portuguese Finesse At Londrino, London Bridge
February 21, 2018
From cold Arinto whites to gutsy Douro reds, the rising star from Leiria brings the finest tipples from Portugal to the neighbourly streets of Bermondsey.
Located behind London Bridge station, tucked away on a quiet residential street, is where you will find Londrino, the highly-anticipated arrival from hot-shot chef Leandro Carreira’s whose name has been a promising up-and-comer in the capital following stints at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, as well as spells at Lyle’s and Koya.
Whilst London is nowhere near short of a good wine bar, the aptly named Londrino (meaning “Londoner”) distinguishes itself with its clever take on regional Portuguese fare offering; Octodogs ( a tentacle tucked between a seaweed bun) whey chips and sweet crab tarts, alongside rare and unusual wines from Portugal and an interesting selection of non-alcoholic drinks including grapefruit drinking vinegars.
The space offers a 70-seater a la carte restaurant and a informal no-reservations, 30-seater all-day wine bar, which we were there to test-drive.
The space is vast, contemporary and chic with floor-to-ceiling windows the length of the restaurant and the encasing walls solid concrete. Traditional tiling as you might expect, offers bursts of bright orange and white colour in a mainly grey room and a extraordinary chandelier made in a car factory is a definite focal point. The separate yet connected wine bar has a neighbourly vibe and counter dining appeared to be popular the evening we visited.
Accustomed to Portuguese food and drink I opted for a white port and tonic and my companion a glass of red from a list of wines which extends further than both the Douro Valley and Alentejo region. Swiftly we ordered from the continuously changing bar menu and daily specials from a blackboard adjacent to us. Crab tarts were delicious, delicately thin pastry encased beautifully sweet crab flesh remind me of trips to Cromer well known for succulent Cromer crabs.
Whey chips were creamy and morish and came as translucent orange shards, whilst the chicken wing skewers, calcots & garum a fish based sauce which had a rich, savoury unami taste was a firm favourite. The real star dish was the duck hearts with almond and garlic, like most we automatically recoiled at thought of eating hearts, however they were surprisingly delicious. The wittily named octodog replaced the traditional sausage meat filling with a tender octopus tentacle, the seaweed bun was quite doughy and the aioli condiment unexciting, the dish called for a gentle kick of heat; that being said the novelty idea was definitely a sight.
Aside from wine, interesting chilli and citrus based cocktails are served alongside all the classics, a vesper martini didn’t disappoint, not that a martini can ever really disappoint! The bar offers an interesting collection of non-alcoholic beverages too, the ever so popular kombucha a lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea, however in this case white can be seen fermenting at one end of the bar as well as a malt & cream soda to name just a few.
Whilst Londrino has attracted many through its doors to dine, their standalone bar is a destination in itself and the ideal spot to escape and discover the flavours of Portugal in the heart of London.
For more information on Londrino, see here.
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