Brigade, London Bridge

For a catch up dinner with my school friends, I actually ventured outside of Soho for a change and went out in London Bridge this week. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the area and upon exiting the station I got immediately lost amongst all the engineering works that definitely weren’t there last time.. Luckily my friend Emma had arranged the evening as I had no clue where to go and after a few drinks in Balls Brothers we headed to Brigade in Tooley Street.
Right by More London and Hays Galleria, Brigade occupies the site of an old fire station. This fire station was a founding part of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade which was established in 1865 after a fire broke out in Tooley Street and devastated the London Bridge area for two weeks before it could be put out. I love somewhere with a story behind it, something a bit original, and not only does Brigade have an interesting history but is also part of the Beyond Food Foundation, working with them to offer catering apprenticeships to homeless and vulnerable people helping them to find sustainable employment afterwards.
Brigade hosts a large bright dining room with a spectacular open kitchen as well as a spacious bar area, several private dining rooms and a cook school upstairs. We were seated by the window but next time I’d be tempted to request a seat at the bar around the kitchen as I’d love to get a closer look at the chefs in action. A seasonal menu offered original and varied dishes. To start with I went for the Wood Pigeon and Duck Liver Pâté.
With chunks of breast meat nestled amongst the smoother pâté this was much more special than your average pâté on toast. I often find with this type of dish that I’m disappointed as you don’t quite get enough bread and you end up leaving quite a bit of the main attraction. This was not the case here, with a chunky texture and with the whole pieces of breast meat you could tuck into this terrine with a knife and fork and not even need the bread. So naturally I polished off every last morsel!
Next came the main event, which it actually took me quite a long time to decide upon. I was tempted by pretty much everything on the menu, but finally settled for the Empire Spiced Roast Chicken with pilau rice and poppadoms. I also ordered a side dish of deep fried broccoli.
The Empire Spiced Roast Chicken
The deep fried broccoli 
Having opted for a sort of curry, but not actually a traditional curry dish, I didn’t really know what to expect from the Empire Roast Chicken. With three large pieces there was plenty to get tucked into. Delicately spiced the chicken had a lovely flavour and was absolutely perfectly cooked: moist and flavoursome. As it wasn’t a saucy dish I worried that it might be a bit dry with the rice but as each element was cooked to perfection, it didn’t have that effect at all. There was also a raita dip on the side for the poppadoms.
Having known this dish was quite so generous I might not have ordered a side, but I’m glad I did as the broccoli was amazing. Anyone trying to get their kids to eat veg… Deep fry it, it was amazing (who cares if the serious amount of batter completely outweighs the health benefits). Not only was it amazing, it was also huge, there must have been a whole head of broccoli there.
Here’s a little selection of a few of the other goodies on the menu…
Lauren and Sarah both opted for 
Ravioli of Lobster and Salmon 
Emma got tucked into the Pork Belly Toad in the Hole 
with a side of creamy, buttery mash
The final round was dessert where I went for my second terrine of the evening, but this time of the chocolate and pistachio kind. Smooth, rich and decadent this was everything you want from a chocolate dessert.
Pistachio & Chocolate Terrine 
with Cherries & Brandy
A Fruit Pannacotta from the specials board
Bakewell Tart with Almond Milk Ice Cream
 Peaches Preserved in Vanilla Muscat Syrup 
with Peach Schnapps Sorbet

My favourite thing about Brigade was the menu: diverse, seasonal and unique with a few classics thrown in for good measure. It’s nice when you don’t quite know what to expect from your meal and makes the whole experience pleasantly surprising. Maybe I should venture out of Soho more often! Brigade are currently running a 2 for 1 offer on their Bistro menu until 30th September so get in quick!

Donate online to the Beyond Food Foundation here or you can simply text TBFF11£(+amount) to 70070 eg. TBFF11£5 to 70070

Brigade Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon


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