Good things come to those who wait. Bar Duoro has been on my radar for some time now. I have been quietly drooling at all their food photos on Instagram. But this year the desire to visit was further amplified by our trip to Lisbon. So this is not a review really but a celebration of having finally made it to the restaurant.
For those who don’t know, BD specialises in Portuguese food and is located in a quiet corner of the ever buzzing and justifiably popular Flat Iron Square.
Much like their food, I am a big fan of their interiors as well. They have tried to integrate a slice of Portuguese streetscape into the interiors scheme with the extensive use of the attractive Azulejo blue tiles. There is none of that formulaic under-the-arches kind of aesthetic here. It is a fairly cozy and intimate restaurant, but thanks to the large windows, it is awash with a warm glow during balmy summer evenings. Almost all of it is counter-dining except one special table-for-two right by the entrance which is every bit Insta-grammable. In fact, all of the restaurant is very Insta-worthy.
So let’s talk about the food. Every bit outstanding!
From the snacks, we started with the Croquetes de Alheira (Smoked Portuguese sausage – £4). They had a nice tang, smokiness and heat from the sausage. It was nice and crunchy on the outside, soft-middled inside.
Next were the Pataniscas de Bacalhau (Salt cod fritters – £4). It was a fine rendition with a subtle fishy taste, fresh tomato flavour and a spicy kick. In Kris’s words, they were pretty f***ing good!
The only vegetable dish we ordered were the Cumin Carrots with Sheep Milk Yoghurt – £6. They were decent but I wasn’t blown away by it. I couldn’t really taste the cumin much, despite it being quite a distinctive spice. Nevertheless, the yoghurt tasted lovely and had a silky texture, draped over the carrots like a blanket.
From the sea, we were told that the Bacalhau à Brás (Salt Cod Hash – £5.5) was a must-try and I can see why. This was a luxuriously comforting mess with the heavenly combination of sweet fried onions and warming spuds, humming with flavour.
Octopus with Sweet Potato – £11 was one of the larger pieces of cephalopod I have seen on a dinner plate in a London restaurant. It came with some lovely sweet potato textures in creamy puree and crisps form. The tender meat, cooked in a Josper grill, had wonderful charcoal flavours coming through, holding its own against the sweetness of the carbs.
My favourite dish was of course the Gambas Aguilho (Garlic Prawns – £12). It was simply perfection on a plate. The tender, garlicky, juicy prawns were glistening in that vivid orange oily pool of a sauce. This is a must-order dish. I asked for a portion of bread to mop it up. Even the bread was ace; there is no beating these guys.
Onto the meats – first up was the Iberico Pork Ribs with a Ruby Port Glaze – £13. You know the saying ‘the meat was so soft, it fell off the bone’. This dish epitomised this phrase to the T.
Last but not least – Prego no Prato (Onglet Steak with Confit Egg- £ 12). The steak was soft and nicely seared and the confit egg was revelatory. It was a rich, meaty dish.
We couldn’t have left Bar Duoro without trying the Pastel de Nata (Custard tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream – £4). It was a befitting way to end a fine meal.
As a food blogger, I have seen too many restaurants drop in quality once the initial limelight and euphoria wanes off after a few months of opening. This is not the case with Bar Duoro. Bar Duoro delivers consistently good food. The menu is small but well-considered and the focus is on quality, not quantity. This place gets a big thumbs up from me.
Location : Arch 35b Flat Iron Square, Union Street, London SE1 1TD
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine. I reviewed this place anonymously as a paying customer.