British, Modern Restaurants in Southwark
1. Menier Chocolate Factory British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 51-53 Southwark Street - SE1
2021 Review: Stick to the good-value, meal-with-ticket deals at the theatre restaurant of this converted Victorian chocolate factory, whose food is “honest” but rather “hit and miss”, hence “not good enough to pay full stand-alone prices” – especially with foodie Borough Market just across the road.
2. Lupins British, Modern restaurant in Bankside 66 Union St - SE1
This “awesome little spot” near London Bridge (“handy for Tate Modern”) serves “fresh and really interesting” ‘British tapas’, including some “innovative vegetarian options”. Five years after the launch, founders Lucy Pedder and Natasha Cooke have a second venue, Pomelo, at the Goods Way food market in King’s Cross.
3. Caravan Bankside British, Modern restaurant in Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford St - SE1
“Delicious shakshuka with maxing smoky flavours” is typical of the “colourful and flavoursome” brunch-friendly dishes at this “very buzzy if not loud” chain, known for its “top coffee” (which they roast themselves), and whose best-known sites are the Exmouth Market original and large Granary Square branch. Recently, they also added an opening in Canary Wharf and a brew bar at their Caledonian Road roastery (not listed), with further ‘measured expansion’ planned. For the most part, they are still mostly seen as a “reliable” choice for an “interesting and healthy” breakfast: “not everything is a hit but for a casual lunch I am pretty happy”. Top Tip – “when the sun is shining, it’s worth waiting for an outside table” in N1.
4. Bread Street Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 47-51 Great Suffolk St - SE1
2021 Review: Gordon Ramsay’s “Italian-leaning” warehouse conversion in Southwark, with an indoor ‘olive grove’ complete with trees, pleases some with its “giant portions of great food” and “fantastic cocktails”. Far too many reporters this year, though, complain of a “sterile” aspect to its “industrial” decor, and dismiss the fare as mightily “uninspired”.
5. The Table British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 83 Southwark St - SE1
2021 Review: “A firm favourite for breakfast and brunch in Southwark” – this café-style fixture a short stroll from Tate Modern serves “a great menu to suit all tastes”, and fans say it’s “unbeatable”.
6. Elliot's British, Modern restaurant in London Bridge 12 Stoney St - SE1
This “fun little restaurant in Borough Market” has pioneered “very interesting natural wines” and wood-fire cooking for more than a decade, building a legion of fans in the process. “Have lost count of the number of times I’ve stopped by for a glass of wine and cheesy puffs”, says one. “Sam [co-owner Samantha Lim] is the best host in London and the food matches the service in every way”. A second branch opened on Mare Street in Hackney in summer 2021.
7. 26 Grains Stoney Street British, Modern restaurant in Borough 2-3 Stoney Street - SE1
2022 Review: In late 2019, the team from well-known café, 26 Grains of Neal’s Yard, opened a big sister over the road from Borough Market. It’s a casual, tastefully decorated haunt serving simple food; and where at night, the vibe is less café, more wine bar. In late 2020, Tom Cenci (the ex Duck & Waffle head chef, whose own Loyal Tavern venture did not survive the pandemic) took over what has become an extended residency. The cooking (by him and one other chef) centres on sustainability, and less-used cuts of meat (particularly Irish beef).
8. Turnips with Tomas Lidakevicius British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 43 Borough Market, Off Bedale Street - SE1
Tomas Lidakevicius produces “very innovative dishes using seasonal produce” at this zeitgeisty venture, attached to a greengrocer’s stall in Borough Market, where a pop-up quickly went permanent in 2021. You book either for the sharing plates or full (£90) tasting menu experience – in either case “the place feels like being in a market stall to create an evening to remember; and it’s close to the Thames for a nice walk home”.
9. The Swan at the Globe British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 21 New Globe Walk - SE1
The “amazing setting” – part of Shakespeare’s Globe with “spectacular views” over the Thames – is the USP of this venue. There’s an “excellent range of cakes, sandwiches and teas” (including the oddly named ‘Mr Falstaff’s’ savoury afternoon tea… forgetting Sir John’s knighthood). But more generally, while the food’s fine, “it’s not a serious challenger for the title of restaurant rather than gastropub”.
10. Tate Modern, Kitchen & Bar, Level 6 British, Modern restaurant in Southwark Level 6 Boiler House, Bankside - SE1
2022 Review: “Decent food with a stunning view – if you’re lucky enough to get a window table” overlooking the Thames and City rooftops, is the uncontested verdict on the ‘Kitchen and Bar’ in the Boiler House part of the gallery.
11. Aqua Shard British, Modern restaurant in City Level 31, 31 St Thomas St - SE1
Near the top of the Shard, on its 31st floor, there’s no doubt this is a stunning venue, most recommended for a special date or the “amazing afternoon tea”. No-one says its modern British menu is disappointing, but there is a feeling that it’s “very expensive” and the cynical verdict is that “you don’t go for the food, you go for the toilets, which give you an unparalleled widescreen view of London”.
12. TING British, Modern restaurant in London Bridge Level 35, 31 St Thomas St - SE1
“Fantastic views” are the universally acknowledged highpoint of a visit to this swish Asian / British restaurant on the Shard’s 35th floor. It is most often recommended for its “great twist on a traditional afternoon tea” (including an “exceptional vegan tea”) – for more substantial meals, it is too often “not worth the price you pay for uninspiring dishes”.
13. Oblix British, Modern restaurant in Southwark Level 32, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street - SE1
This all-day operation on the 32nd floor of the Shard celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and still wows with its “amazing views” over London. The ‘urban casual’ menu from Rainer Becker (of Zuma and Roka) fits the (very expensive) bill without generating much excitement. It is divided in two, with Oblix East offering “excellent afternoon tea” and cocktails.
14. The Anchor & Hope British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 36 The Cut - SE1
“Still serving hearty gastropub food in a chilled-out way” – this “long-time favourite” near the Old Vic remains one of London’s top foodie boozers thanks to its “ever-changing menu” of “innovative dishes with a nod to nose-to-tail dining”. Its performance has been less consistent in recent years, though (“some options matched the reputation for robust, powerful flavours, but others in my party reported basic errors that we wouldn’t expect at these prices”).
15. London Grind British, Modern restaurant in London Bridge 2 London Bridge - SE1
2021 Review: “Good coffee… and the food’s OK too” – this Borough Market café remains one of the top caffeine hits in SE1. “It’s great for breakfast” too.
16. Boiler & Co British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 5 Canvey Street - SE1
“Imaginative Caribbean fine dining” is an unlikely find at any time – particularly considering the bland location of Anguilla-born Kerth Gumbs’s Bankside newcomer, which opened in early 2022 amidst the anonymous glass-fronted offices behind Tate Modern. The Evening Standard’s Jimi Famu thought his east Caribbean-inspired tasting menu to be “dumbfoundingly good… laser-honed… top end” cuisine, while one early reporter questions “is this a potential Michelin star at some stage”. Definitely “worth trying”.
17. Vinoteca Borough British, Modern restaurant in Southwark Borough Yards, Stoney Street - SE1
“It’s wonderful being able to choose so many wines by the glass” from the “eclectic list” at these popular modern wine bars, liked for their approachable contemporary style. “Obviously the liquid refreshment is the main point here”, but the “simple” cooking can be “more assured than you might expect”, if from a “limited menu”. A new branch opened in late 2021 at Borough Yards in SE1, while in late 2022 its oldest site, on Seymour Place in Marylebone, shut up shop. Other particularly notable branches include the one right by King’s Cross station (with a convenient and excellent terrace) and Chiswick.
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