A good Portuguese restaurant in London is hard to find, and apart from Nando’s and its peri-peri chicken. Many Londoners will be hard press to tell you, where you can find and enjoy some authentic Portuguese cuisine in the city.
This is where Bar Douro London enters, offering a contemporary take on Portuguese food. Located in the new up and coming Flat Iron Square in South London.
Flat Iron Square is around a five minutes’ walk from London’s famous Borough Market next to London bridge. I must confess I have walked through Flat Iron Square, countless times on my way to Southbank and never once given it a second glance.
So, it was such a surprise to discover Bar Douro a small intimate space tucked away, out of sight under the railway arch. If you’d know that this small restaurant existed you would have walked pass it, like I have down so many times before. If you like this post also check out my post on the desserts in London.
Bar Douro London Review - Best Portuguese Restaurant London
Bar Douro - Décor
The restaurants atmosphere is great for after work dinner or a catch with friends, with its relaxed Mediterranean ambiance. Along with traditional Portuguese decorations. Like the patterned blue and white Portuguese tiles that covered the bar and a large tiles mural on the walls.
There are also some cool modern fixtures that compliments the rest of the restaurant. Which has a rustic industrial vibe with wood and metal bar stool-only dining area that run along the curved marble counters. One at the window and another at the bar.
The design of the restaurant in keeping with its location, under a railway arch in Flat iron square. I recommend booking at table at the bar, so you can see what the chef is cooking.
The décor and design of this Portuguese restaurant makes it stand out.
Bar Douro, owned by Max Graham who was brought up in the Douro valley and is from an extensive line of English port makers in the Douro. This is evident in the luscious all Portuguese wine list and Bar Douro menu.
The menu at Bar Douro focus on a small plate of Portuguese tapas for sharing and draws inspiration from Lisbon and Porto.
Everything on the menu sounded incredible but I didn’t try any sausage or pork dishes off the menu as my friend with me didn’t eat pork. Also see my post and places to eat in Chinatown.
Bar Douro Menu - What I tried
We decide to pick a few dishes that we could both share. Starting with the Pataniscas de Bacalhau (salt cod fritters) and Pica-pau (sautéed beef with pickled vegetables) from the snacks section. The fitters tasted amazing, were light and greaseless, with large chunks of fish.
The beef and vegetable were nicely done but weren’t anything special when you think this is a tapas menu.
From the seafood section we had the Octopus with sweet potato and Gambas aguilho (garlic prawns). The Octopus was served with two variations of sweet potatoes. A puree form and crispy shavings of sweet potatoes sprinkle on top of the octopus. The chewy texture of the octopus might not be to everyone’s taste as my friend was not a huge fan. But I liked the taste of the octopus.
The garlic prawns were my favourite hands down, I had to get my hands a little dirty while eating these succulent prawns. Every bite was divine and the sauce, was something of perfection. It was so flavourful, yet light.
I used the sourdough bread to wipe my plate clean of the prawn sauce and would have happily ordered another plate of this stuff.
Last up was the Confit duck leg escabeche on grilled sourdough from the land section of the menu. This was served last as it took the longest to cook.
Dessert was the traditional Portuguese Pastel de nata (custard tart with cinnamon ice cream), which had a crisp, fluffy pastry with a mild custard filling. I am not usually a custard tart kinda a girl, but I would have had seconds of this tart.
I could take or leave the accompanying ice cream as it wasn’t anything special but I’m not a big ice cream eater to begin with.
The wine we had was a nice, crisp, light Rosé that complimented the fish dishes nicely.
Cons of Bar Douro London
Service was a bit slow as dishes arrive as a when they were cooked. So, it might take some time for you to get all your dishes, or you might have to wait for a dish to arrive after you’ve eaten most of the other dishes. Our waitress kept forgetting to serve us the bread after we had asked her twice for it.
The wine section is extensive, but the waiting serve were quite knowledgeable when it come to the all-Portuguese wine and which dish would pair well with which wine.
Yes, you can also get tapas in Borough Market but for something a bit more upscale I recommend you visit Bar Douro. As I foresee it as one of the best Portuguese restaurant in London.
I recommend booking in advance as the restaurant itself is not large and filled up quickly. Also, if you get a seat at the bar you can see the food being cooked in front of you which truly adds to the experience of the meal.
Bar Douro Arch 35b, Flat Iron Square, Union Street, London SE1 1td. Open all week, noon-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm (9pm Sun).
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