Best in London Bridge

Looking for a restaurant in London Bridge? We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and compiled a handy list of the best restaurants in London Bridge. Whatever your budget or taste, SquareMeal is here to help, with a selection of the best restaurants in London Bridge for every occasion. Read on for our pick of the top restaurants in London Bridge.

Updated on 12 December 2018

Best in London Bridge


Hutong at The Shard

Hutong at The Shard

£50 - £79
Chinese

Level 33,The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY

London flagship of the Hong Kong-based Aqua Group, this luxe eatery on Level 33 of The Shard is nigh on impossible beat for its beautiful interiors, glamorous vibes and “spectacular views”. Despite ‘hutong’ bringing to mind Beijing’s backstreets, the menu’s a sophisticated mix of Szechuan and Northern Chinese, with some “absolutely exquisite” Cantonese dim sum for good measure. Recent highlights have included Shandong shredded chicken (for stuffing into fluffy buns), boned lamb ribs (braised then stir-fried), and a plate of “soft, yielding and deeply savoury” braised beef in aged vinegar and ginger sauce. The full-on version of Peking duck is simply “fantastic”, and there’s also ma-po tofu, with a blend of chilli and Szechuan pepper giving it that distinctive numbing-hot effect known as ma-la. Spicing is considerably toned down from the full blast you’ll find in Chengdu, but that suits most of the suburban visitors and expense-account diners just fine. Prices are double what you’d pay in Chinatown, although readers are happy to shell out for such “phenomenal” food. “A real treat.”

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Tom Simmons

Tom Simmons

£30 - £49
British
French

One Tower Bridge, 2 Still Walk, London, SE1 2LP

Former MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up Tom Simmons appears to have landed on his feet with this eponymous debut, having previously worked under the likes of Mark Sargeant (Plum + Spilt Milk) and Tom Aikens (Tom’s Kitchen). Part of the One Tower Bridge development, the two-floor site serves up an all-day menu of traditional British and French dishes with some intriguing Welsh accents (note the whipped leek butter, the cockle popcorn with seaweed mayo and the regional cheeses). The intimate ground-floor bar dispenses on-trend sips such as passionfruit and elderflower Martinis, while the charming low-lit space upstairs benefits from a relaxing soundtrack and cosy decor. Starters might see wood pigeon with beetroot and blackberries or a creamy mushroom velouté, pepped up with chives and truffle cream, while our pick from the generous mains was the short-rib of beef, served as a hunk of tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat on smooth pomme purée with beef jus and a scattering of smoky bacon lardons – a filling and big-flavoured plateful. If you still have room, finish with a handful of cocoa-dusted salted caramel truffles. With its smiling service and prices that are justified by hearty portions, we think Tom Simmons is one to watch.  

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Santo Remedio Cantina & Comedor

Santo Remedio Cantina & Comedor

Under £30
Mexican

152 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU

Santo Remedio caused a stir in Shoreditch in 2016 before rent increases forced it to close soon after opening. But it was around for long enough to develop an ardent fanbase who have helped crowdfund this new two-floor site near London Bridge. It’s an easy-going, high-energy kind of place, with bare tables and blue tiles creating the sort of clattery acoustics that are perfect for dates or a catch-up with a mate, with half of the 90 covers for walk-ins and the other half available to book.

All of the three tacos we tried (chicken, pork confit, soft-shell crab) were good, but the chicken had the edge for the sweet-and-sour kick of orange juice and pickled onions; we also loved the heat and crunch of the soft-shell crab. Slow-cooked beef rib was more DIY, though no great hardship when the meat slides off the bone and there’s thick molé to spread on the taco like chocolate Marmite. Non-taco dishes include cactus coleslaw, corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and Pecorino, chicharrón – light curls of pork scratching to dip into Mexico’s national sauce of Valentina, a sort of spicy ketchup – and churros to dip into a sugar bomb of dulce de leche.

To drink, there are half a dozen Mexican wines, a couple of beers and a house Margarita served on the rocks with a fiery rim of Tajin chilli powder. With high-end Ella Canta recently opened in the InterContinental, the vibrant immediacy of fresh Mexican cooking is finally getting the attention it deserves.  

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Padella

Padella

£30 - £49
Italian

6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ

Sometimes all you want in London is a concise, straightforward menu, superb food and good value. The team behind much-loved Highbury Italian Trullo have well and truly cracked it here. Split over two floors, this cramped, no-reservations pasta bar features a marble-topped counter overlooking the kitchen (watch the pasta being hand-rolled on site) and a black and gold, low-lit basement dining room and bar. We were treated to a classic 80s soundtrack and a full restaurant, creating an effortlessly congenial vibe. Antipasti include unembellished plates of beef fillet carpaccio and burrata, leaving a list of six pasta dishes to steal the show. We ordered a second plate of the unassuming pici cacio e pepe: fat, al dente spaghetti with butter, Parmesan and black pepper, astonishingly delicious and tangy, only £6. Pappardelle with Dexter beef shin ragu was similarly bursting with flavour, the beef cooked with due respect. Almond and rhubarb tart was a crunchy, sublime steal at £4. Some portions could be larger (although none of the dishes are more than £10) and there are just three cocktails and four wine choices – don’t miss the peachy, smooth Sussex Bacchus – being succinct is Padella’s core characteristic. In a city of endless choices, Padella is a supreme antidote.

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Pizarro

Pizarro

£50 - £79
Spanish

194 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ

This is the smarter of José Pizarro’s two Bermondsey eateries, and the only proper sit-down option – although we recommend perching at the kitchen counter and enjoying some “great theatre” if you can. This is a good-looking place, contemporary without being achingly fashionable, and it attracts a local crowd to match. The ingredients are always top quality and handled with expertise by the kitchen team: meltingly soft chicken livers on sourdough are “a must-try”; grilled baby gem lettuce is paired with blue cheese, piquillo peppers and caramelised walnuts; Cornish hake might be grilled on the plancha and served with sautéed potatoes. To finish, expect inventive desserts ranging from a strawberry soup with basil and lime granita to cream-cheese ice cream with blackcurrant and chamomile syrup. The wine list is among London’s best for good Spanish producers and emerging regions. There’s a newer branch in the City, but fans tend to favour this “truly remarkable” original.

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Blueprint Café

Blueprint Café

£30 - £49
British
£30 - £49

28 Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD

“On the button… I really rate this place!” enthuses one fan of the Blueprint Café – a bright, airy eatery floating above the Thames. A row of tables along one wall offers “fabulous” river views, although the main draw is top-notch cooking at prices that “don’t even break the bank”. The seasonal carte kicks off with crowd-pleasers such as potted duck with piccalilli or beetroot and goats’ curd salad, while mains have a sturdy patriotic feel – think chicken and leek pie, whole plaice with chips or Colne Valley lamb rump with cockles and samphire. There are “fabulously creamy” risottos too, while desserts offer yoghurt pannacotta and lemon cheesecake alongside lemon posset and Eton mess. The overall feel is sleek, efficient and a tad corporate (as you might expect from a D&D London outlet), although there’s no strain on the wallet: “go for their lunch menu!” recommends one price-conscious fan.

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Le Pont de la Tour

Le Pont de la Tour

£30 - £49
French

Butlers Wharf, 36d Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE

With its riverside views of Tower Bridge and close proximity to The City, Le Pont de la Tour has won a legion of fans since it was opened by Terence Conran back in 1991. Previously known for its classic French menu featuring favourites such as crêpes Suzette, new chef Julien Imbert has taken a more modern approach that reflects his experience as head chef at Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred City Social. While the Bar & Grill offers traditional French brasserie fare, the Restaurant now serves up elaborately plated, intricate dishes that draw on international influences and tap into current food trends. Witness cured salmon with miso mayonnaise and pickled cucumber or halibut with curry velouté. Our starter of smoked and pickled baby beetroot with blackcurrant was a well-judged blend of punchy flavours, while Gloucester Old Spot pork belly was perfectly paired with a smoked apple purée. Creative desserts such as lemon curd with thyme shortbread, meringue and liquorice ice cream are a highlight, while the lengthy wine list and smart service continue to impress. The changes to the format here weren’t necessarily needed, but they are more than welcome.

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Pique-Nique

Pique-Nique

£30 - £49
French

32 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3LD

You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled to find this second restaurant from Hervé Durochat, which occupies what looks like a café-cum-shelter in the corner of Tanner Street Park. But get up close and Pique-Nique is a bobby dazzler, a real-deal French bistro of tiled floors and close-set tables, with outside seating to soak up the summertime buzz and wraparound windows that will make it a pleasure even in the middle of winter. Durochat has become a local hero for Casse-Croûte and he’s done Bermondsey another huge favour with this casual follow-up. Start with an aperitif (vermouth, pastis or pale Provençal rosé) from a short, mainly French wine list ahead of house speciality spit-roast poulet de Bresse, either from a chicken-lickin’ tasting menu or an à la carte plate of skin-on breast and thigh, spooned with alluringly dark meat jus. Elsewhere, there is entrecôte with garlic butter, a loosely assembled terrine of sea bass, cucumber and tomato, a supersized vol-au-vent filled with crayfish tails and glossy Nantua sauce, and a chocolate moelleux that was well worth the wait. All of this was good rather than outstanding but what really made our meal memorable was the easy charm of the young staff and the absolute delight of the setting: is there any sound more summery than the thwack of a tennis ball bouncing off a racket?

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Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

£50 - £79
British
Bars

21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT

This all-day British restaurant and bar seems to hold all the trump cards since its 2017 refurbishment, with an enviable Thames-side location, views of St Paul’s, guaranteed buzz from the neighbouring Globe and now, a star chef in Allan Pickett. Best known for his short-lived 2015 restaurant Piquet, Fitzrovia’s loss has been Swan’s gain because Pickett’s beautifully presented, best-of-British cooking feels right at home here. Sitting above a more casual bar and diner, the second-floor restaurant has been smartened up, with a few flashes of peacock-blue and plenty of bare wood, leaving the wall of windows to do the talking. The menus run the gamut from bacon brioche buns at breakfast to roast UK cuts on Sundays, with lunch and dinner offering the same array of classic British standards, all supported by a well-organised lineup of global wines. A disarmingly pretty dish of marinated scallops arrives dotted with jet-black squid ink mayonnaise, bursting with Granny Smith juice, while a potentially stodgy combination of faggot and venison haunch in gravy buzzes with the tang of pickled red cabbage and damson preserve. Of course, the seasonal menu changes often but Pickett’s delicate knack for maximising flavours should elevate Swan’s kitchen all year round. On the downside, vegetarians have little choice, while pricier, heartier mains are unfathomably served without adequate trimmings. These points aside, the Swan’s second act deserves to break a leg.

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Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard

£50 - £79
British

Level 31 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, , London, SE1 9RY

Swankily appointed Aqua Shard has one astonishing USP – 31 floors up on the Shard, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views, mainly across the urban sprawl leading to the North Downs. The views and the location alone should just about guarantee a full house every night, but it would be remiss to minimise the sterling contribution made by current head chef Dale Osborne (ex-Terroirs). With some mains breaking the £40 barrier, eating here isn’t cheap, but in return you’ll be offered some skilfully rendered and reassuringly seasonal modern British food: jellied ham hock with pickled heritage carrots and parsley oil; fillet of John Dory with Scottish girolles, sea beet, pickled samphire and lentils; Merrifield Farm duck breast with seared duck hearts and slow-roasted Evesham beets; cherry Bakewell tart with cherry sauce. Useful tip: they’re also open for breakfast, weekend brunch and afternoon tea, though prices are as sky-high as the views. Readers also reckon that drinks are “somewhat expensive”.

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Bar Douro

Bar Douro

£30 - £49
Portuguese

Arch 35B, Union Street, Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD

Tucked into one of Flat Iron Square’s railway arches, this modern Portuguese restaurant hums with heritage. Founder Max Graham's family have been producing Churchill’s Port in the Douro Valley for 200 years, so it's no surprise that the drinks list takes port seriously, as well as flying the flag for Portugal's native grape varieties. Clad in traditional blue-and-white tiles and featuring marble-topped counters, the rustic space recalls the traditional tascas (taverns) of Lisbon and Porto, where Graham and chef Tiago Santos honed their menu with a pop-up residency. The result is a one-page menu celebrating Portugal’s regional dishes and national classics, with an individual twist. So bacalao is served from the open kitchen with scrambled eggs and fried potato in a rich, salty hash, while roast suckling pig arrives with homemade crisps in perfect crunchy slivers. Other stand-outs include creamy croquettes made with alheira (Portuguese spicy sausage) and crunchy rolls stuffed with tender, milk-fed lamb. Finish with native cheeses, sweet pastel de nata and port, of course.

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Gunpowder Tower Bridge

Gunpowder Tower Bridge

£30 - £49
Indian

4 Duchess Walk, London, SE1 2SD

Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Harneet and Devina Baweja opened cult restaurant Gunpowder in 2015 to long queues and heaps of critical praise. Now, three years later, the couple have opened the Indian small plate joint’s first sequel.

Transported from scruffy Spitalfields to the gleaming One Tower Bridge development, it’s fair to say that Gunpowder’s newer space has lost some of its rough-and-ready charm. The thrown-together feel of the tiny original has been swapped for a much slicker vibe, combining leather banquettes, plaster-washed walls and 70s-style tiling. It’s also much larger and split over two floors, although a fantastic team of well-drilled staff manage to keep the atmosphere friendly.

Signature Gunpowder dishes have been joined by some excellent new additions. Don’t miss the moreish Madras-style chicken lollipops – essentially a moderately spicy chicken winglet, in which the bone acts as a makeshift lollipop stick (no fussing around with knives and forks here, thank you very much).

Fans of the original restaurant will be relieved to know that the classic dishes still pack a mighty punch. Gunpowder’s take on a toastie oozes with cheese, chutney and tongue-tingling spices, while the melt-in-the-mouth kashmiri lamb chops will have you licking the bones clean like a ravenous caveman. For dessert, try the Indian take on bread and butter pudding, pepped up with a shot of rum. You’ll also find booze elsewhere in the form of spice-laden cocktails, but there’s masala coke for the non-drinkers.

Affordable, fun and delicious, we think that this second Gunpowder is just as tasty as the first, and the larger space means bookings are accepted. No more waiting outside in the cold then.

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Casa do Frango

Casa do Frango

Under £30
Portuguese

32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU

This sizzling Portuguese joint is on the first floor of a large warehouse space just a few minutes from Borough Market (the ground floor houses foraged ingredients specialist Native). Casa do Frango’s focus on flame-licked chicken glazed with spicy piri piri sauce means that comparisons to Nandos are inevitable, but we’d suggest that Casa is in an entirely different league to every teenager’s favourite restaurant chain.

Firstly, the space is gorgeous, with a rustic vibe that brings the outside in via a giant skylight and greenery hanging from the ceiling. The menu is also far superior, kicking off with a run of small plates, which are large enough to enjoy as a single starter: highlights include deeply smoky charred chorizo dipped in a black olive mayo, and plump grilled prawns glazed with fiery piri piri.

The main act here is free-range half chicken grilled over wood charcoal then brushed with chilli sauce, and the result is a truly tasty and juicy barbecued chicken. You can bulk out your meal with the likes of batatas fritas (golden, oily chips) and a vibrant tomato salad. A cinnamon-dusted custard tart, washed down with Portuguese wines, is a perfectly indulgent end to the meal.    

The restaurant was buzzing on our visit, and our only bugbear was that service felt rushed and it was distracting to be served by several different waiters throughout the evening. Nevertheless, Casa do Frango is a delicious casual option, and won’t cost you much more than a Nandos.

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The Coal Shed, One Tower Bridge

The Coal Shed, One Tower Bridge

£30 - £49
Steak
Fish

One Tower Bridge, 4 Crown Square, London, SE1 2SE

Brighton steakhouse The Coal Shed (sister restaurant to Brighton’s The Salt Room) has opened its first London location in the plush One Tower Bridge development. This bigger and sleeker take on the original boasts a separate cocktail bar and a private dining room. Interiors are dark and moody, with deep brown walls and emerald green banquettes, while knowledgeable, chatty staff are buttoned up in dark blue shirts. Cuts of the day are written on blackboards to share among big groups, but when dining for two we’d recommend the à la carte. Starters prioritise the restaurant’s seafood offering with the likes of jerk salmon and Orkney scallop, but we were impressed by charred octopus, pepped up with Asian influences such as cubes of daikon and strings of kombu seaweed. For the main event, 35-day aged Scottish steaks come in sirloin and ribeye form among others, with our perfectly cooked fillet joined by accomplished sides, including crispy onion rings, thick triple-cooked beef dripping chips and delicious coal-roasted carrots topped with crème fraîche and sumac. If you’ve got any room left, we’d recommend the dessert ‘small plates’ – toasted marshmallows, doughnuts oozing with warm custard, and salted-caramel ice-cream cones. A strong and varied drinks list caters for both the frugal and big-spenders, while cocktails make use of the resurging classics, such as rum and gin. Head here on a Sunday to sample the ‘sharing roast’ with all the trimmings ­– watch out Hawksmoor, you’ve got competition.      

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Hawksmoor Borough

Hawksmoor Borough

£50 - £79
Steak
British

16 Winchester Walk, London, SE1 9AQ

The Dickensian lanes around foodie mecca Borough Market make an apt setting for the sixth London Hawksmoor, the chain which offers a contemporary take on the traditional British steakhouse. The leather-chaired, 160-cover dining room is on the first floor of a converted Victorian warehouse, all brick walls and big windows. Hawksmoor’s delicious-sounding menu classics are all here, while trying to choose is even tougher thanks to the Borough Market specials menu (ox-cheek cottage pie, for example). Starters from the main menu include a pair of hefty Old Spot belly ribs, deliriously sticky, or Yorkshire puddings that act as edible bowls for potted beef dolloped into a pool of gravy. Perfectly cooked steaks are the main event, each charred and crusted without and ruby-red within. Fabulously good sides such as sticky gobbets of roasted marrow or soft chunks of maple bacon almost steal the show, the latter being so sweet that it shows up with doughnuts on the pudding menu. Staff could do with more training on the finer points of a Euro-focused wine list (with decent choice under £30), and we were sorry that on a busy Saturday night nearly all of the bar area was given over to diners. Nevertheless, this is another accomplished outfit from a fantastic group, proving British cooking is at its best when it’s done simply, with top-notch ingredients.

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Duddell

Duddell's London

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

6 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY

We wonder if Hong Kong import Duddell’s was inspired to open in London Bridge by the success of nearby Hutong, from the HK-based Aqua Group. While Duddell’s might not have Hutong’s Shard views, it has an equally celestial location in the de-consecrated St Thomas Church, its soaring interiors cleverly divided by a mezzanine level and illuminated by covetable, World of Interiors lighting. Classy Cantonese cooking is what’s on offer from a kitchen team that has spent time at the Hong Kong original. Peking duck carved tableside is no longer the novelty it once was in London but done very well here. The lusciously fatty meat is dipped in fennel sugar, or rolled up with an array of piquant condiments into thick pancakes, before being stir-fried as a second course with a choice of sauce; the arrestingly flavoured duck in Martell Cognac and black pepper sauce was the best thing we ate all evening. We also enjoyed deeply succulent smoked beef rib with red wine soy beef, and chicken encased in pliable pan-fried dumplings. Ingredients are top notch – Bresse chicken, Berkshire pork – but prices seem steep for cooking that struck us as good rather than memorable, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much below £40 on the global wine list. Lunchtime dim sum offers a cheaper way in but we suspect that, budget permitting, all-out luxury – lobster noodles, steamed turbot, wagyu with spring onion – may be the best way to get into the glamorous spirit of the place. 

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Oblix at The Shard

Oblix at The Shard

£50 - £79
International

Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY

High in the sky above the sweeping London landscape sits Oblix, one of a handful of restaurants in tourist magnet The Shard. Boasting truly stunning views of the capital, alongside a menu of “first class” food, it has long been a favourite among SquareMeal readers.

At Oblix, moody modern aesthetics (the reception desk is in almost complete darkness) soon give way to truly stunning panoramic vistas. Owner Rainer Becker is better known for Asian-themed Zuma and Roka, but Oblix is more firmly rooted in Western gastronomy. The menu kicks off with snacks and small plates, including a decadent and crisp truffled flatbread which is topped with shavings of pancetta and flakes of ricotta. Elsewhere, try springy crispy squid pepped up with chilli and lime, or perhaps a super fresh and creamy lobster and clam linguini.

Sizeable mains come from the in-house Josper grill, rotisserie and wood-fired oven – think steaks in various sizes served alongside thick-cut chips and helpings of rich mac ‘n’ cheese, and a tender helping of duck with a crispy skin, dipped in a vibrant mango sauce. For pudding, the dessert platter is surely the only way to go, featuring miniature versions of Oblix’s entire dessert menu, including a bar of chocolate topped with crunchy bourbon ice cream, and a fluffy slice of New York cheesecake.

If dinner reservations prove hard to book, Oblix also offers a weekend brunch menu complete with an extensive dessert station, and a luxe Sunday lunch featuring the likes of lamb rump with puy lentils, parsley and mint. For the budget minded, a “good value” set lunch menu offers an affordable way in.

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Roast

Roast

£50 - £79
British

Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London, SE1 1TL

“What’s not to like about ‘meat and vegetables’?” quips an admirer of Roast – a determinedly patriotic eatery dedicated to the glories of traditional British cuisine. Built on a mezzanine floor in Borough Market’s iconic Floral Hall, it promises “fantastic views” from its handsome, light-filled dining room. We’ve been many times for breakfast and never been disappointed, although booking ahead is essential. If you’re more interested in lunch or dinner, you’ll find “reliable” and expertly sourced dishes prepared with a fair degree of dexterity, from Portland crab salad or Scotch eggs with piccalilli to braised ox cheek on creamed onion sauce or whole grilled sea bass with fennel and capers. The menus are keenly seasonal, so also expect spring lamb, summer fruits and game too (“this is the only place to eat grouse after the Glorious 12th”, insists one fan). “Always enjoyable” Sunday roasts naturally get the nod, and the Brit-accented drinks list is also on the money.

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Restaurant Story

Restaurant Story

Over £80
British
One michelin star

199 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JX

Tom Sellers gained a reputation as something of an enfant terrible when he opened his first solo venture, Restaurant Story, at the age of 26 in 2013; now he’s re-opened it with a refurb after a six-week closure. The whole place feels more grown-up; the stark Scandinavian look of the glass-walled room (Sellers spent a year at Noma in 2011) has been softened with tablecloths and sculptures, while the rather precious ‘story’ elements, such as guests being asked to bring a book to leave behind, have thankfully been pulped.

There’s no menu as such; guests are asked for any likes or dislikes before a procession of tasting-menu size dishes arrive, although they are likely to include story classics such as ‘Storeos’ – a savoury spin on an Oreo cookie filled with cheese – and Sellers’ signature dish of bread with dripping, in which a beef-fat candle lit at the table melts to become a dipping sauce for sour dough.

But it’s not all about the visual gags. Sublime turbot, Champagne and sea herbs, and chicken with morels and lettuce, bear witness to Sellers’ rock-solid training with some of London’s most famous chefs, while oscietra caviar, veal sweetbread and turnip showcased superb ingredients with every mouthful.

Even diners who have an allergic reaction to tasting menus are likely to be won over by the joy and invention on show here, although what elevated the meal for us from high-end rivals was the relaxed service led by witty and down-to-earth maitr’d Joe Paulinski who, for all his good humour, learnt his trade at the very serious Per Se. All in all, this is a Story that now knows how to put a smile on its customers’ faces, and if you haven’t returned since it first opened, it more than merits a re-visit.

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Native

Native

£30 - £49
British

32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU

Native’s move from Covent Garden to Southwark hasn’t diverted its kitchen from its mission of serving foraged British ingredients and game, with a zero-waste ethos wherever possible. To get a taste for the approach, order a portion of the ‘chef’s wasting snacks’, which change daily according to whichever ingredients are left over.

We loved the salty grouse tostadas, sticky-sweet bao buns with beef heart and the impressively crispy focaccia, and also the fact that diners the following evening might be served something completely different.

We were also impressed by an especially good grouse with sweetcorn and black pudding, which showcased a great mixture of tender game with a crunchy twist. We were less taken with buttermilk-fried grouse, which was claggy rather than crisp. The puddings to follow were excellent, though, including a sweet but subtle sea buckthorn and carrot curd.

Interiors reference the foraging theme with faux-derelict brick walls and industrial pipes on the ceiling, with clumps of vegetation here and there – not the most original setting, perhaps, but in keeping with the urban-rustic vibe of the menu. Throw smooth service and comforting array of drinks (such as the Native gin and tonic) into the mix and Native is a great find for a relaxing but slightly experimental dining experience.

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José

José

£30 - £49
Tapas
Spanish

104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB

José Pizarro began his London career working for Spanish food importer Brindisa before launching his Bermondsey flagship Pizarro, then this little tapas bar down the road. So it’s no surprise that London’s best-known Spanish chef also knows his produce: the hams, cheeses and everything else here are exemplary. There isn’t a great deal of space and it’s standing room only much of the time, but that doesn't stop the tiniest of preparation areas (‘kitchen’ may be too grand a word) from turning out “amazing” croquetas, grills and assemblies. Beyond the patatas bravas, tortilla and Padrón peppers, we’re very partial to the cured tuna with almonds, baby chicken with potatoes and romesco sauce, chorizo al vino and figs with sheep’s cheese and honey dressing. A few little plates and a glass of wine or sherry is sufficient to set most people off in a good mood for the rest of the evening. It’s perennially packed, but the accommodating staff are as expert at dealing with crowds in confined spaces as Spanish bus conductors.

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Casse-Croûte

Casse-Croûte

Under £30
French

109 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XB

If you go looking for an ‘authentic’ bistro in Paris, you may be disappointed; checked tablecloths, Edith Piaf and verbal menus that sound like an Inspector Clouseau sketch have gone the way of confidence in the Euro. But come to Bermondsey and you can step into a corner of France that is forever Amélie. The blackboard menu (just three choices per course) is in French; the chairs are bentwood; the floor is chequer-tiled, and the kitchen generally makes a good fist of things when it comes to delivering true bourgeois flavours. Follow our lead and get stuck into a plate of charcuterie before dipping into the menu itself – perhaps mackerel in white wine or saucisson en brioche with Madeira sauce ahead of salmon coulibiac with beurre blanc or pork shoulder with lentils, plus a dessert such as raspberry soufflé or plum tart. There’s a brief all-French wine list too, and service is certainly friendlier than the Paris norm.

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