Within the walls of the oldest fire station in London is a fine-dining restaurant, stylish bar, mini library and endless wine shelves. Before mentioning any food, it is hard to overlook the incredible fluency and productivity of the Brigade brand.
The whole building runs as a social enterprise, which is completely unique to the borough, and the friendly teamwork and productive atmosphere welcomes you gently through the door. The concept helps the homeless gain skills and the experience needed to develop a career in the restaurant business, which generates a lovely, generous feeling at heart. This fun and exciting atmosphere is epitomised by the staff ‘selfie board,’ which sits on a wall in the middle of the restaurant. The challenge is to get a cheeky selfie taken with a member of staff to win a meal for you and your friends.
The kitchen is run by professional chefs and interns to produce exceptional fine dining; intern bar staff welcome you through the door, while meals are delivered by intern waiters. The entire restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine in a completely open-plan setting, making it easy to see why the place is full every afternoon and evening. The ‘Quick Fire’ menu is ideal for a quality lunch on a time limit, but the à la carte menu is the real gold mine.
The menu is composed from a fine selection of delicate starters, such as the beautifully prepared fresh crab dish with explosive grapefruit and soft cucumber jelly, that soften the taste buds and refreshes you in preparation for the following courses. The presentation of every meal is exquisitely delivered to a fine detail to characterise each dish, and the local sourcing of the ingredients and homemade attitude to everything served to you is utterly charming.
The main courses come in a wide range of flavourful combinations such as a wonderfully seasoned duck that literally melts in the mouth, accompanied by an exquisitely fruity sauce and perfectly cooked scallops. The side dishes are equally intricate and bursting with flavour, adding plenty of diversity to each plate.
The truly short and sweet dessert board is a delightful ending to the fabulous menu. The homemade jelly and meringue dish incorporates a lot of technical cooking and preparation to match the sublime freshness the dessert produces.
To experience Brigade Bar & Bistro as a family or large group then the chef’s library, a little room secluded amongst a mass of bookshelves, is a great spot to create a more personal ambiance. Alternatively, they have the second largest capacity room in Bermondsey on the upper floors for bigger events, which demonstrates, again, the diversity of the entire venue.
Brigade Bar & Bistro, 139 Tooley Street, London, UK, +44 844 346 1225