Brigade Bar & Bistro

Bars and pubs London Bridge
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Brigade Bar & Bistro
© Richard Waite

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The Brigade Bar and Restaurant is setting the London restaurant scene on fire. Located in the old fire station, built following 1861’s famous Tooley Street Fire and leading to the creation of the first London fire brigades, The Brigade Bar and Restaurant is concerned not just with eating but with bringing people together to build a community enjoying new experiences together. While The Brigade, along with the Beyond Food Foundation, offers catering apprenticeships to the vulnerable, cookery courses, cookery schools for the keen and private dining for the VIP-minded, the centre of this fantastic venue is definitely the bar and restaurant. A sensory experience, guests are met with the aromas of tempting fresh cooking on arrival, the gentle buzz of conversation and attractive, modern surroundings creating a relaxed feel. Combining sophistication and rusticity, The Brigade's menu focuses on good produce and traditional British cookery, a handful of classics and sharers adding to the mix.


Venue name: Brigade Bar & Bistro
Address: 139 Tooley Street Southwark
Price: £26 to £40
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

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Had a great lunch here the other week and loved it! Had the Brigade Burger which was probably one of the best burgers I've ever had! Plus, you don't feel as guilty eating all their yummy food as the restaurant is a social enterprise helping the homeless or those who are close to experiencing homelessness find work. Great value too and the staff treat you well.

Suited as a pitstop bar for that much needed apres work cocktail, but more ideal for bistro dining while watching the chefs beaver away in their open kitchens. I was more interested in the cook school upstairs though...such giddy fun to play chef for the evening and maybe learn a new skill along the way (who knew that making Bearnaise sauce was not so frightfully impossible afterall!). Community aware and driven to help those at risk of or having experienced homelessness, many of the chefs here are part of an apprenticeship programme; everyone I came across was encouraging, capable, friendly and informative. 

Enjoyed a fabulous meal in this former fire station on Tooley Street. The selection of homemade breads to begin with were lovely, and enough of a starter in their own right. The fillet of beef with figs is the most expensive dish on the menu, but boy is it worth it! Perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth beef, and plenty of it. No nouvelle cuisine here, thank goodness. The rosemary new potatoes were lovely too, though perhaps a little too heavy on the rosemary for my personal taste. I hardly had any room left for dessert...but I managed! Three scoops of sorbet - the peach flavour in particular was delicious - was a very light and refreshing way to finish the meal. The only thing I didn't like was the coffee - it was far too strong and bitter to be drinkable. But the food itself was gorgeous. Reckon on spending £50 each for 3 courses and wine.

I am always keen to find good restaurants around where we live (south east London...Southwark area) which aren't a chain - as much as I like going to Byron or Ping Pong, it is nice to know you have another great local place on your doorstep as an alternative! Brigade is one of the newest ones we can add to our local list. And eating there is pretty guilt free as it has the benefit of helping those less fortunate with your patronage. As the website will tell you: outstanding food does more than just provide pleasure Together with the Beyond Food Foundation, Brigade offers vulnerable people catering apprenticeships, giving them the opportunity for a brighter future. Located on Tooley street in the old London Bridge fire station, it has a buzzing bar from 6-8pm, mainly servicing those from More London offices around the corner. They don't have a cocktail list but the bartenders are skilled and can make most things (tested by asking for an Aperol Spritz and a whiskey sour). The atmosphere in the dining room is OK, the most exciting part being the totally open kitchen which you can see from almost any table (unless you are dining in the private chefs library which is a lovely room for parties up to 12). There is a good menu with a variety if choices from classics done 'their way' to some innovative dishes such as the seared scallops with a citrus ceviche which was the excellent choice of the Mothership as a starter. Fresh, light but packed with flavours, the clear star of the three we ordered (starters 1 photo in background). Instead of a specials board, there is an apprentice board - the dishes the students have thought of themselves to serve. I ordered the goats cheese rarebit (a good take on a classic but very simple - you get what you ordered and in the foreground of starters 1 photo) followed by the duck breast with carrot purée and potato fondant (Mains 1 photo foreground). The duck was expertly cooked and the purée divine. I didn't touch the potato as it didn't add anything to the dish, it felt complete without it. JAM ordered the two dishes on the menu which came with the most on their plates! He started with Scotch Egg with Potted Pork belly and apple chutney, pork crackling (starter 2 photo). It was excellent but enough to share between 2. He followed this with the Rump of Lamb with Braised Shoulder and Tongue with put lentils (Mains photo 2 in the background). This was equally excellent with the Tongue giving a rich flavour to the dish. The Spring Risotto the Mothership ordered, was fresh and light and our side to share of fried broccoli with a white bean stew was good but not needed with the portion sizes! The pudding choices were fine, nothing too exciting HOWEVER make sure you ask what the ice cream and sorbet options are! A hidden treasure if flavours awaits your ears...maple and walnut, blueberry, grapefruit, coconut, honeycomb, dark chocolate and vanilla bean...and those are only the ones I can remember! They are all made in site and they give you a choice of 4 per order. Well worth it.