Brigade restaurant review

Whether you’re a food tourist visiting Borough Market or a London City worker, I’ve found the ideal lunch venue for you.

Brigade restaurant review #London

Brigade Bar and Bistro is based in an old fire station close to London Bridge. Not just an ordinary restaurant, it is home to the Beyond Food Foundation. This social enterprise offers those who have been at risk or who have experienced homelessness training in the restaurant industry. With qualifications and mentoring, the project helps apprentices secure sustainable employment.

Alongside several friends I took lunch there recently. Would it be a blazing success or a burn out?

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There is a full cocktail bar at Brigade however you may already know my personal preference – pink or fizzy, preferably both. I might add that Brigade is kitted out with some very stylish glass and tableware.

Bread was a feast in itself, three types with giant pats of butter. For reasons unrelated to the restaurant we were dining later than planned – the various breads, nuts and olives kept us very happy whilst waiting for one of our number to arrive at the table!

Brigade Restaurant Review #London cheese eccles cakes with colston bassett

For a starter I had Colston Bassett Eccles cakes with cranberry and rosehip ketchup. A savoury Eccles cake is not something I’ve seen done before and indeed we do not see ordinary fruity Eccles cakes around enough these days. These pastry parcels with cheese and raisins worked really well – a glam version of the traditional cheese and pickle combo. Nicely presented and just the right portion size.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London chef scallop starter Brigade Restaurant Review #London chef scotch eggs Brigade Restaurant Review #London egg starter dish   Brigade Restaurant Review #London chef mackerel salad

Friends ordered for their starters:

New Forest wild mushrooms on sourdough toast with a fried duck egg

Scotch eggs with beetroot piccalilli, fennel and green apple slaw

Cornish crackling mackerel salad with pomegranate and mauka honey dressing

Baked british seafood in pastry covered shell.

Check out their reviews to see what they thought. (Links at bottom of this post).

Brigade Restaurant Review #London pork belly toad in the hole

For mains I enjoyed pork belly toad in the hole with buttered cabbage and a pear cider and onion gravy.

What arrived was a bit of a suprise, although in a good way. I’m so used to toad in the hole done as traybake and had envisaged pieces of pork belly. Instead it was a chunk of pork belly surrounded by batter in a miniature casserole. I have mixed feelings about mini cutesy containers for my food – (a local place in Walthamstow serves chips in a miniature frying basket) but was relieved at least it was served on a plate rather than a giant slate. The dish itself was great albeit fiddly to eat in the little pot.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London steakBrigade Restaurant Review #London ravioli chef dish

Friends’ mains were:

Poached fillet of beef with figs, wild mushrooms and radish – a pricey £29.95 but well received.

Ravioli of lobster and salmon with lemon and sage dressing.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London vegetable sides  Brigade London restaurant review - vegetable side dishes Brigade Restaurant Review #London vegetable sides

Side dishes were inventive dishes in themselves. Each added interest to the meal rather than being a predictable after thought. Side dishes we tried were:

Roasted butternut squash, aubergine and chilli oil

Deep fried broccoli, tomato and white bean stew

Sauteed chard with hazelnut butter

Tossed autumn salad with chive and mustard dressing.

I was pacing myself somewhat for dessert so I personally didn’t try these side dishes apart from the roast squash.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London chef bakewell tart

Desserts were well worth saving space for. My Bakewell pudding came toasted flaked almonds and peanut brittle.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London chocolate dessert with strawberries

Ordered elsewhere was chocolate and rose parfait. Having previously made a milk chocolate and rose cake I know these two flavours work together very well (think Fry’s Turkish Delight!).

The cheese board was a sight to behold… a well balanced arrangement of mild to stronger cheeses and the inclusion of my personal favourite cheese board items – charcoal cracker and grapes. More unusually there was quince cheese. We were introduced to the cheeses one by one however I regret I can only recall the name of the Stinking Bishop (which was hoovered up first) and Colston Bassett stilton as previously featured in my starter.

Summary

Brigade has an imaginative menu which represents excellent value for the standard/location. I would heartily recommend it to others whether in a group or couple. It’s five minutes’ walk from London Bridge station and you can walk off your meal with an enjoyable walk along the Thames afterwards.

A three course meal with wine will probably set you back £80-100 depending what you order. Don’t forget you’ll also be supporting the Beyond Food Foundation helping the homeless – there aren’t many restaurants where you can combine a good meal and a good deed. Opening times are aimed at the City: no lunchtime opening on Saturdays and closed all day Sundays (although private events may be taking place at these times).

Take a look at my friends’ verdicts over at:

Greedy Gourmet

London Unattached (to follow)

Eat Cook Explore (to follow)

Pebble Soup

Cook Sister (to follow)

With thanks to Brigade restaurant with whom we dined as guests. Find out how to donate to the Beyond Food Foundation here.

Brigade Restaurant Review #London cheese board

Sarah Trivuncic

Sarah Trivuncic is one of the UK's leading food bloggers. She is the author of Bake Me I'm Yours... Sweet Bitesize Bakes and has been the voice behind Maison Cupcake since 2009. You can also connect with her on Google+

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