Other than half a chicken (medium) at Nando’s and Nuno Mendez’ more exciting Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields, Portuguese food isn’t one of the cuisines that has rocketed to fame in recent years. It goes under the radar.
To open a small counter-only restaurant in Flat Iron Square, a newish food/booze/music space under some railway arches in SE1, is then a brave move. It’s paid off however as the place is always packed.
We arrive with no booking but luckily they manage to squueze us in. Service is a little slow in places but that is the only downside to our meal.
More familiar dishes like garlic prawns (£12), heirloom tomatoes (£5) and piri piri chicken wings (£5.50) show the kitchen’s dedication to preparing simple, honest food using the best possible produce.
Leitão suckling pig (£13) may not be much of a looker but it certainly makes up for it in flavour. The meat is soft, sweet and subtle while homemade crisps bring texture. There is s rich meaty sauce and a wedge of orange – the two compliment each other brilliantly.
Croquetes de Alheira (£4) are far more Instagram-worthy if that is your thing. These little balls are filled with Portuguese sausage and are a must order.
We finish with another must: pastel de nata (£4.50), that’s custard tart to you and I. Here, it comes with cinnamon ice cream. The custard is so creamy, the pastry so crisp, I consider ordering another one. And then one to takeaway.
Flat Iron Square is certainly worth checking out if you haven’t already; there is street food aplenty but restaurant-wise there’s also Lupins and Where the Pancakes Are too. But put Bar Douro to the top of your list.
Would we go back? Yes.