What: Following years of training and a year-long residency at Climpsons Arch, Portugese pop-up chef Leandro Carriera has opened a permanent restaurant in the Snowsfields Yard development in London Bridge.
Who: Carriera was head chef at Nuno Mendes’ restaurant Viajante, but he cut his teeth through training at other big-name restaurants, including Mugaritz in Spain (which is rated ninth on the World’s 50 Best list), Lyle’s and Koya. His year-long railway arch residency in Hackney acted as a pilot for the opening, so as well as familiar menu items, there are also familiar faces amongst the team: Cameron Dewar, who Carriera worked with at the Hackney site as well as Viajante, is Londrino’s general manager and sommelier.
The vibe: Spanning what was originally intended to be three individual units of the new Snowfields Yard development in London bridge, the 70-cover restaurant is vast, with high ceilings, concrete walls and an open plan design showcasing the open kitchen. Hand-crafted Portuguese tiles and a chandelier fashioned from an old fighter jet plane engine are interesting design touches in what could otherwise be an overly industrial space. An all-day 30-cover wine bar to the right has its own separate menu, and with its no-reservations policy is a cosier and more relaxed option. The restaurant is fronted by floor to ceiling windows, which will open in the summer to allow alfresco dining.
The food: Carriera is clear that although the restaurant is influenced by the flavours of Portugal, it is not a ‘Portugese restaurant’, so feijoada and pastéis de nata will most likely not be making any appearances on Londrino’s weekly changing menu. Seafood features heavily, as does pork, with dishes including the likes of prawn tartare with chestnut; pickled potato noodles with salted cod and coriander; crab claw with daikon radish and Iberico pork pluma (shoulder) with dry buttermilk and salsify. Interesting vegetable options comprise leeks glazed in lactose; January king cabbage with black garlic and cabbage juice; and celeriac with black trompette. Desserts include the likes of grilled soaked brioche with sour caramel and hazelnuts; or ice creams, made on site in a variety of flavours such as caraway, caramel vanilla or sweet, toasted amazake rice. The bar menu offers smaller, more accessible snacks to accompany the comprehensive wine list. With the most expensive option (a selection of cured meats) coming in at £15, the bar menu is certainly a more affordable option, with choices of baby gem with almonds and garlic emulsion; umami whey chips with smoked pimentao; braised, crispy shrimps with kombu and rose; and grilled quail with toffee mayo.
And another thing: London Bridge and its surrounding area has become something of a restaurant hub over the past year, with new, high-profile openings including high-end Hong Kong import Duddells, El Pastor and Santo Remedio. Longer standing restaurants continue to operate in the area, with new formats emerging as seen at D&D’s Le Pont de La Tour, where Julien Imbert has taken the helm, re-doing the entire menu to modernise French cuisine.