“Portuguese food in London?” – my eyes lit up! Perhaps Bar Douro will be “the place” for me. My usual method of trying a new place out… find a good friend to catch up with over good food and drink! So off we went to meet for a Sunday leisurely lunch at Bar Douro located between London Bridge and Borough, in the arches under a railway called Flat Iron Square.
Unfortunately for myself, google maps on my mobile was really playing up that day… each time I referred to the map, the location of Bar Douro decided to change. Frantic conversations with my friend who also had the same trouble led to my very late arrival, but not after a lot of “it’s just to the right under the railway bridge…” from my friend, with my replies of “… which railway bridge?”
Thankfully Bar Douro was still not too crowded, and as I sat down on the bar stool, I was promptly given the drinks menu where the very first item caught my eye: a cocktail of white port with tonic water. What a great choice on that warm and sunny Sunday afternoon.
The bar is decorated with azulejos tiles which brought me straight back to my Lisbon days. What is it about these tiles that just set up the atmosphere? Here is an image from their website.
There was one dish I was particularly keen to try or rather reacquaint myself with, from the region of Alentejo, a stew of pork with calms. I’ve always thought this combination rather strange when you read or hear of it but the combination actually works. It is more of a hearty simple stew, so I was curious how they would present this.
Actually, I have always thought of Portuguese food as best appreciated when it is done simply and without fuss – relying on the freshness of the ingredients, so Bar Douro’s interpretation would be very interesting indeed.
A number of small plates, ‘tapas’ style or really as we are in a Portuguese establishment, pesticos, were ordered though I looked on at the whole suckling pig with interest! Looks like another visit is definitely on the cards! Our selection finally came to: Pão com Chouriço, Croquettes de Alheira, Bacalhao à Brás, Pork ‘Alentejana’ with clams, Gambas a guilho, Grelos Salteados, and Octopus with sweet potato. And for dessert Abade de Priscos and the Orange and Olive cake. I think the images can speak for themselves.
Our server Antonietta was lovely and enthusiastic, her personal recommendations were also very helpful. I like that the staff are enthusiastic about the food that they serve, willingness to accommodate though these days I feel for restaurants as they have to consider the increasing trend of food allergies. Happy to say that my friend and I had none of these (as yet!).
Bar Douro has definitely hit the spot in my reminiscing for Portuguese food. So the hearty type stews are missing, but those staple dishes have been brought in with a refinement for the “London Bar palate”. And speaking of which the most typical of London requests… fresh mint tea, not on the menu but still served to us.
Unfortunately I didn’t have room to try the cheese nor charcuterie boards, nor their drinks menu, which was heavily represented by Churchill. Oh well, there is always the next time…
Do visit Bar Douro for a couple of pesticos or so, something to drink, just the place to stop by and catch up with a friend.
Arch 35b Flat Iron Square,
Union Street, London, SE1 1TD
Lunch & Dinner
Monday – Saturday: 12am-12pm
(Kitchen open between 12 – 3:30 and 5:30 -10:30 but petiscos/snacks are available all day)