Vicky Mayer trades the cold, damp London streets for the warmth of Portuguese hospitality at Bar Douro in Flat Iron Square, Southwark
It’s a bone-chilling Thursday night when we arrive at Bar Duoro but the welcome we get couldn’t be warmer. The friendly staff at this lively Portuguese bar-come-restaurant make swift work of our coats before settling us in on stools overlooking the chefs who are hard at work.
Bar Douro opened in 2016 in foodie Flat Iron Square, with owner Max Graham declaring that his mission was to bring Portugal’s flavoursome food and wines to London. Well, he’s certainly done that. Decorated in traditional hand-painted blue and white tiles with a vast white marble bar as a centre piece, fans of the sort of hole-in-the-wall places you’ll find in Lisbon and Porto will love the authenticity of Bar Douro.
Here, in Portuguese style, you can chow down on a cleverly curated menu of sharing plates. Specialties of the house include octopus with sweet potato, pork cheeks with turnip top salsa verde, traditional salt cod fritters and the most succulent prawns I have ever tasted in London. Mopped up with bread and their very moreish olive oil, alongside the rest of the very happy customers in the bar, you’ll soon be extolling the virtues of Portuguese cuisine.
Here, in Portuguese style, you can chow down on a cleverly curated menu of sharing plates
Add to that a seriously good wine list that has been chosen by Max, who is part of the Churchill’s Port dynasty, you can see why Bar Douro has been so successful since it opened. But it’s not just the food and drink that makes this place special; I really like the way that the staff interact with the customers too, suggesting a glass of wine to go with a dish or urging you to try a glass of the special tawny port.
The customers are a friendly bunch too. On the night we visited, we chose a lot of dishes just because they looked so good on our neighbours’ plates, including the must-try custard tart with cinnamon ice cream.
Fun, tasty and friendly – Max has created a great foodie destination in Bar Douro. Book yourself a night out here soon and you’ll fall in love with Portuguese food.
Flat Iron Square, 62-66 Union Street SE1 1TD; bardouro.co.uk