We recently visited Brigade Bar and Kitchen near London Bridge which is a social enterprise, restaurant and charity. It was founded by chef, author and social entrepreneur Simon Boyle, in collaboration with PwC UK, De Vere Venues and the Homes and Communities Agency. They opened in 2011 and recently rebranded and relaunched in November 2018.
They work with people who are at risk of or have experienced homelessness, providing training and support as part of a two year apprenticeship. As part of the programme, they work across the levels of a restaurant business – from Front-of-house to kitchen.
In the second year, they have the option to work in a different restaurant but are still very much supported by the Beyond Food and Brigade team. The idea is to up-skill them so they can find employment and break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and unemployment.
The interiors are quite clean and stylish, set inside a former fire station (hence the word ‘brigade’ in the name), designed by interior and retail branding consultancy Path Design.
We tried their Summer Grill Sunday menu, which had a range of grills and small plates. They also do a fine brunch menu on weekends. All their meats, vegetables and breads are smoked over a fire exclusively using English wood – Alder, Birch and Oak.
Slow Roasted Middlewight Pork Loin | Burnt Apple | Summer Slaw
Dartmoor Lamb Shoulder | Chimichurri | Summer Slaw
Smoked Bone Marrow | Pickled Shallots and Flat Parsley Salad | Beef Dripping Toast.
In terms of the dishes itself, both the meats were delicious and the slaw was particularly fresh and crunchy. The pork felt a bit dry on the whole and could have done with a more liquidy sauce than the burnt apple. The only let down was the Smoked Bone Marrow. There wasn’t much of it and at £9, not the best value for money. The beef dripping toast was gorgeous though.
We had a pleasant lunch, if not blown away by the food. Factoring in the social enterprise and ethical cause behind it, it is definitely a place I would recommend if you are meeting friends in the area or looking for restaurants where you not only get good food but do good at the same time.
“By eating and drinking at Brigade you have played a part in making a real difference to our apprentices and trainees, ensuring a future out of homelessness”.
You can read more about this collaboration on the following links below:
Location : Brigade, The Fire Station, 139 Tooley Street, London SE1 2HZ