Bar Douro, Southwark


Bar Douro is located in Southwark, within Flat Iron Square, and specializes in Portugese tapas. I went to Portugal just over a year ago, splitting my time there between Porto and Lisbon...and it was one of my favourite places I’ve visited. 

When there, I ate, and ate. Much like in Spain, I became obsessed with the relaxed way of eating (later times, no real rush or necessity to get there) - and of course, the port. 

So when an ex-colleague mentioned Bar Douro to me, I’d wanted to go straight away. It took me a while to get there; often falling back on restaurants I knew and loved. But finally, a couple of weeks ago I finally went. 

Nestled in between the arches, Bar Douro is dimly lit with a nice buzz as you walk in. It’s small and cosy, with seating around the bar that hosts a mixture of friends and couples alike. Naturally, 90% of those dining had many glasses of wine and naturally I felt like I’d fit right in.

Seated immediately, we sat in front of the ovens (which is something I am always a fan of) and could see the chefs plating various delicious looking plates. The menu is small and simple, broken down in sections; snacks, garden (veggie), seafood and meat. It’s recommended you have around 6-7 between two, initially I thought this wouldn’t be nearly enough (oink), but the waiter reassured me and plied me with the wine we’d ordered. 

From the snack section we opted for crispy polenta, smoked portugese sausage croquettes and salt cod fritters. Then from the rest of the menu we opted for garlic punched potatoes, octopus with sweet potato and lamb rump with kale. 

We opted for a bottle of Meio Qeuijo, a full-bodied red that was rather smooth, after debating whether to opt for one of their sparkling wines. Their wine list is extensive, in both options and price, ranging from around £25 through to £145 in terms of wine, and obviously a little more for their port offerings, which were again extensive and one of the better selections I’ve seen in my time in London. 

The food came quickly; starting with the snacks first. The smoked sausage croquettes were exceptional; simple flavours combined to make a little bite of heaven. Salt cod fritters - again something I discovered whilst in Portugal, and unfortunately then something I came to crave whilst hungover - were full of flavour, complemented with a peppery sauce that had a nice kick to it. 

The rest of the food came out at a nice pace; the octopus came first and lived up to the expectations. Octopus is one of my favourite things, but definitely one of those I’d never attempt to cook at my flat so it’s always a...treat? It was meaty, paired well with the sweet potato; my only critique being that it would have paired nicely with something sweet in addition to the sweet potato. 

The lamb and potatoes came last; by this point we were both surprisingly full, but welcomed more food naturally as the ganets we both are. One perk of putting on weight is definitely this new found ability to truly put away copious amounts of food. 

The lamb was great in flavour, a little dry in texture, but worked well with the garlic punched potatoes and finished off the meal nicely. I’d been hyping myself up for the pastel de nata and a port for the entire day, but actually after all the food I’d found myself too full to even entertain the thought - which is not something I thought I’d been saying. In fact, I’d nearly started a row with my other half when he suggested I’d ordered too much…

In total, the meal came to £70 including all food, drinks and service. If you live or work in the area, you can get a Bankside Buzz Card which gives you a 10% discount at Bar Douro all week. 

Overall, I’d totally recommend this cute restaurant for a casual meal out, a meet-up with a friend or even a date night. 

35B, Arch, 85B Southwark Bridge Rd, London SE1 0NQ


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