Review of Brigade Bistro and Bar
In the heart of suits city is converted fire station Brigade Bistro and bar. The restaurant sits on Tooley St once a run down road and a mecca for homelessness the newly regenerated area has bought the like of Restaurant Story and The Shard.
Brigade Bistro’s Chef Founder, Simon Boyle had the vision to bring people together and nourish relationships through the power of great food. They have created a social enterprise, The Beyond Food Foundation , a concept of giving back community and helping vulnerable people to rebuild / kick start their career. Working with hostels and homeless charities offering people an apprenticeship programme. This life changing opportunity will provide the qualifications and personal mentoring necessary to ensure apprentices are able to find sustainable employment in the future.
A fully working kitchen above the restaurant is used to train /teach the apprentices, cooking some of the staff including chefs are from the program
A live open kitchen gives a social aspect between chefs and customers, I love watching my food being cooked as I sit at the bar sipping a cocktail.
At Brigade Bistro, the food is based on simple, well sourced ingredients, as local as possible from farmers and suppliers. Service is familiar but professional; all service staff are well trained and learn to cook and can give excellent recommendations, stories and advice on suppliers, ingredients and dishes.
Appetizers were goats cheese crostini with a beetroot chutney. The cheese was soft and smooth almost whipped texture, creamy and mature like a camembert very rich and tangy. The sweetness of the fruity beetroot cut through the sharpness. The rabbit croquettes were lightly breaded stuffed full of well seasoned shredded meaty succulent rabbit.
My blogging contributor began with the scotch egg which was deliciously crispy on the outside with a perfectly runny yolk. The beetroot picallili added a lovely sweet/sharpness and the apple coleslaw added a really nice crunch. It was a lovely balance of textures and sweet/savoury.
The main of Confit of Gressingham duck was cooked to perfection, it fell off the bone on a bed of creamy rich mash. The beetroot and rhubarb sauce sauce was generously applied and was a really unusual, and delicious addition to duck.
The highlight for me was the dessert – at first bite the star anise sorbet threatened to overpower the more delicate dandelion and burdoch jelly, but when it all mixed in a bit more each mouthful was a real treat, particularly with the crispy and gooey meringues.
My starter of Wild Mushrooms on toast was humble with a touch of extravagance. The rich fried duck egg was cooked perfectly with the yolk still runny oozed over the earthy woody mushrooms. Sat on the thinly charred toast however one slight criticism is the toast was soggy from the mushrooms.
My rib eye steak was served medium – rare and was spectacularly tender, chargrilled for a seared smokey flavour and intensely meaty and juicy. A fine cut of meat with a small edge of fatty to keep in the flavour. The hermitage sauce was a delicious condiment rich , creamy and buttery with the intense meat glaze acting as extra brown gravy.
Cappuccino Crème Brûlèe – a cross between an actual cappuccino coffee, a frothy milky coffee topping with an under layer of crisp sugar and a thick rich custard hidden underneath.
My Brigade Bistro experience was simple food and cooked to a very high standard. Seasonal, fresh, organic and local ingredients create British classics with an European flare.Top marks for presentation, the passion for fantastic dishes and a restaurant that gives back is evident not only in the food but with the staff. The service was very friendly and attentive and the restaurant itself had a very pleasant, relaxed vibe though the clientele at the bar were solely city-trader types, which is expected for that sort of area, but did make the place feel like more of a ‘post-work’ pub than a really nice restaurant.