So what do we need to know about Londrino?
It's the long-awaited first restaurant by Portuguese chef Leandro Carreira. Leandro arrived in London via the World's 50 Best restaurant Mugaritz in Spain. He was head chef at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante before moving on to Lyle's and Koya and then did a hugely popular period at Climpson's Arch.
Where exactly is it?
Just behind London Bridge station, on Snowsfield Yard opposite the Guinness Trust Buildings. It's part of a new development and is split into a large bar area (with separate bar menu) and restaurant.
Where should we meet friends for a drink first?
It's right behind The Horseshoe Inn, which would be an easy spot and The Hide cocktail bar isn't far away either. But given the size of the bar at Londrino, you'd be better off meeting here.
And where should we sit?
It depends on what you're after, really. We liked our spot in the main dining room, looking into the open kitchen, but there's a nice second section to the restaurant which is a little more private.
Of course, you could just come here for drinks and some of the bar snacks. We tried the 'hot dog' - made with minced pork, linguica and drizzled with chilli oil (£8) - which was the perfect thing to soak up some of the lovely Portuguese wine on offer here.
So, the food - what's it actually like?
As you can imagine from any new, modern London restaurant the menu is a series of small and slightly larger plates, starting at around the £7 mark and moving up to £18 for a dish of Welsh lamb and esparragada.
The sourdough was exceptional - from the Snapery Bakery in Bermondsey, barely a 10 minute walk away, as was the cultured butter that went with it.
Dishes seem to be changing all the time - but of what we had, the dishes we liked most were:
- A selection of beautifully cooked wild mushrooms served on roasted yoghurt (£13)
- The fermented potatoes with egg yolk and mustard piso (£8) - this may be a marmite dish from what we've heard, but we loved them. And we do like our potatoes.
- Smoked raw beef, diced into relatively large cubes and served slightly warm with slices of Jerusalem artichoke and broccoli (£10). Something of a bigged-up tartare with a lovely texture to the beef.
- The Bisaro presa, dry buttermilk, salsify - again a beautifully cooked chunk of presa.
- And we were rather fond of a 'special' of teal with pumpkin croquettes seared on the plancha with fermented mushroom stalks and paste (£20)
There were also cheese dumplings made with the rinds from their cheeses and served with mustard stalks. An admirable dish for its no-waste inspiration, but a little too delicate in taste for us.
For desserts, we tried both the grilled soaked brioche with sour caramel and hazelnuts (£8.50) and the crystalised squash with herbs and port reduction £6.50) - with the winner being something of a close one - but with the brioche coming out in front.
There are also a number of interesting ice-creams made in-house that we'd like to go back and try, notably the toasted caraway ice cream and the whey and local honey sorbet.
What about the drink?
Australian Cameron Dewar, who worked with Leandro at both Viajante and Climpson’s Arch, runs the floor as Manager/Sommelier and he knows his stuff. Make sure to kick things off with a glass of the sparkling Portuguese Vadio from Bairrada (£8) while our carafe of the 2015 Quinta das Cerejerias (£32) was also delicious. It is a punchy list though - with carafes starting at £21 and heading up to £43.
We're always happy to see a popular chef who's grafted hard and long finally get to open their own place. There's a lot of pleasure in seeing someone fulfil their dream and the atmosphere on a Saturday night was one of real exuberance. The space itself is particularly lovely and while there might not be much immediately in the area - we hope plenty of you will cross town to try this. We are certainly going to be back to put the rest of the bar menu through its paces.
More about Londrino
Where is it? 36 Snowsfields Yard, London SE1 3SU
Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @londrinolondon.