In this most dreary of seasons, there’s nothing better than indulging in a touch of escapism with wistful dreams of warmer climes. Now, thanks to the culinary talents of hotshot chef Leandro Carreira, winter-bitten Londoners can now experience a glorious – and much-needed – taste of summer at Londrino, a new Portuguese-inspired eatery in the heart of London Bridge.
A taste of summer: Londrino restaurant review
14th February 2018
We head to London Bridge to check out one of London’s hottest new restaurants, sampling all manner of Portuguese delights from chef Leandro Carreira
Carreira has been a promising up-and-comer in the capital for some time, having worked as head chef at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, as well as spells at Lyle’s and Koya. However, it was a residency at Climpson’s Arch in Hackney that really put the Leiria-born chef’s name on the map, where his clever takes on regional Portuguese fare soon garnered a cult following. In December, the highly-anticipated launch of Carreira’s inaugural permanent space Londrino cemented his status as the capital’s current culinary darling – there are already rumblings of a Michelin star.
Tucked away on the quiet residential street of Snowsfields, Londrino’s airy, neo-industrial space houses both an a la carte restaurant for lunch and dinner, and a laidback wine-bar for all-day small dishes and snacks. Dishes have their roots in Carreira’s native Portuguese cuisine, though the menus evolve each week with a nod to the team’s collective culinary experiences. Plates are designed to be shared, so bring a friend or two to sample everything.
After a refreshing white port and tonic aperitif, my companion and I begin with a round of sourdough slathered in soured cultured butter, before fighting over a bowl of simply dressed yet perfectly cooked prawns – though we wimp out from eating them whole, shells, heads and all, as advised by our waitress. A plate of artfully sliced mackerel accompanied by tangy green piso is a delight, while the Iberico pork pluma offers meaty respite from the fish and seafood-heavy menu. On the side, we enjoy the January king cabbage with black garlic, although batatas a murro could have used more seasoning. The real highlight is the dessert; a huge, wickedly rich slab of grilled brioche gleefully oozing with sour caramel and hazelnuts. As would be expected, there is a multitude of Portuguese wines on offer – with helpful recommendations from the green-aproned sommelier – however, it is a shame that vinho verde is not available by the glass.
Once the coffees are cleared, wander over to the wine bar for a cocktail or two – the mixologists are excellent and know their way around a classic, though we opt for the more unusual chilli-infused concoctions instead. Decorated with Grace & Thorn greenery and hand-painted tiles in the Portuguese fashion, it’s the kind of understatedly cool design that is catnip to snap-happy Instagrammers – and come summer, those floor-to-ceiling windows will be thrown open, inviting drinkers to while away the evening on an outside terrace. Happy days.
For more information on Londrino, or to make a booking, visit londrino.co.uk.