My dining companions both declared, “we’re over small plates”. This friends, is not a statement I’m ready to hear let alone swallow like a dry pill. I personally am still in the 2012 craze of eating small plates of perfect morsels, consuming about 12 of them, feeling content, and settling a bill for £100. Sounds grim for some, but I actually love it. So on this particular evening, I’d booked Londrino and I was hoping no one would notice before the fact that this was a ‘small plates’ type restaurant.
New in London Bridge, Londrino - if you haven’t heard of it, is Leandro Carreira’s first solo London restaurant. Leando started out at Mugaritz in Spain at the time it was in prime position on the World's 50 Best restaurant list, before moving to London where he was Head Chef at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante, before Lyle's, Koya and briefly the famed Climpsons Arch. The menu, of yes, ‘small plates’ is Portuguese inspired drawing on Leandro’s roots but has been given a London lick of paint.
There’s a gorgeous restaurant of natural materials; wood, cement and leather, which screams interior design gold, and an equally stylish wine bar.
The menu is to the point ascending in size of plate. Homemade sourdough with cultured butter was the best thing to pass my lips in a long time. A native oyster with samphire vinaigrette each was so good it deserved an encore, and encore we did with a second serve ordered mid-meal. Mushroom crisps with caramelised yoghurt were good for picking alongside fresh peas with sorrel emulsion and paleta, virtually neon in colour but outrageously delicious. Octopus Mascada with red pepper sauce was visually striking and perfectly balanced with both flavour and texture.
We rounded the meal off with three perfectly portioned blue ceramic dishes of homemade sorbet; chocolate & thyme, winter melon and apricot. Each as delicious as the next, but the chocolate and thyme taking the cake.
At the end of the meal we were well and truly sated, what we’d experienced was so full of variety and distinct flavour that I didn’t hear a single person complain about the serving concept of ‘small plates’.