26 March 2024

Where To Eat and Drink on Bermondsey Street

Bermondsey is, without doubt, one of London's best neighbourhoods for foodies. Yes, I'm biased: I've lived in the area since 2012 (it was one of the reasons I moved here). It's home to Maltby Street Market, which draws huge crowds every weekend, and Spa Terminus, where you can hop between the railway arches, tasting and shopping for everything from kimchi to comté. There's a reason why it earned the nickname 'London's larder'. But if you're looking for a restaurant, bar or coffee shop, look no further than Bermondsey Street. And if you're looking for a guide to the best places to eat on Bermondsey Street, read on! (Scroll to the end for a handy map.) 

Characterful Bermondsey Street runs half a mile south from London Bridge station, just south of the River Thames. Many of the buildings retain the neighbourhood's industrial heritage and there's a laid-back yet lively urban village vibe. Strolling along the street, you'll find countless independent eateries and bars that you can't wait to check out. You can eat your way around the world's cuisines, sampling dishes from khao soi to croquetas, and ramen to roast beef. From casual lunch spots to unique bistros and top-notch cocktail bars, there's something for every taste and every budget. 

Over the years, I've tried out almost all of them (and many others that have since closed). And after all of this research, I'm excited to share my guide to my favourite places to eat and drink Bermondsey Street, listed from north to south.

Bermondsey Street Food & Drink Guide

Kin + Deum (2 Crucifix Lane) – family-owned contemporary Thai

OK, technically, Kin + Deum isn't on Bermondsey Street, but it's only just around the corner on Crucifix Lane and it's way too good to leave off. Siblings Roselyn and Bank took over their father's former restaurant and relaunched it as Kin + Deum, a relaxed and welcoming modern Thai restaurant. The food is delicious, perfectly harnessing all four pillars of Thai cuisine — spicy, sour, salty and sweet. I am a sucker for pad thai and their version is excellent, but I've eaten my way around most of the rest of the menu, especially since my trip to Thailand introduced me to even more Thai dishes like the spicy larb salad, the crispy basil chicken and the comforting khao soi curry, a Chiang Mai speciality.

Chapter 72 (no. 72) – espresso by day, espresso martinis by night

I do love an all-day café-bar and Chapter 72 seamlessly shifts from serving speciality coffee and pastries by day to cocktails by night. The espresso-based drinks are always well brewed in this casual, rustic-chic café. As for the alcoholic offerings, there are no fewer than 11 espresso martinis on the menu but there are other cocktails too if, like me, you prefer to enjoy your coffee separate from your booze.

Fleurie (no. 92) – French wine bar with seasonal small plates

The newest addition to Bermondsey Street at the time of writing, Fleurie is the perfect spot for an apéro (or two) and a few Mediterranean small plates and nibbles to share, like steak tartare and asparagus with pea purée. They've also just started offering weekend brunch. The best seats are at the L-shaped marble bar where a Michelin Man holds court and where you can watch the bartenders at work. The wine list is impressive but cocktails are more my jam, and I liked the playful, French-themed list, especially the  Jane Birkin — gin with tart lemon and raspberry flavours (handbag not included, more's the pity).

The Garrison (no. 99) – relaxed gastropub with a modern British menu

The Garrison is great for relaxed weeknight suppers, Sunday roasts and everything in between. I've celebrated many special occasions with friends and family members here — even if that special occasion is just "it's Thursday." With its décor that honours local character, welcoming staff and regularly changing modern menu, The Garrison has been open more than 20 years and it's evolved with the neighbourhood. There's a focus on quality ingredients and simple but refined cooking. Try to save room for one of the delicious puddings. For a more casual post-work drink, try The Woolpack, just across the road at no. 98.

Casse-Croûte (no. 109) – cosy bistro serving authentic French fare

In my younger years as a vegetarian and a picky eater, French restaurants were something of a minefield for me. I eat almost everything these days and so Casse-Croûte's daily changing menu — offering three options for each of three courses — is a source of much pleasure. They serve authentic French classics and I've tried many great dishes over the years, but I'm happiest when I spot their bœuf en croûte or the côte de bœuf on the menu — and the profiteroles or île flottante on the dessert list. You can call them to book a table in the small, cosy eatery – and check out the menu du jour on their Instagram.

Hakata Ramen (no. 177) – casual ramen bar

On a cold winter's night, what better comfort food than a steaming bowl of ramen? Hakata's ramen is just as satisfying during warmer climes and it's busy most evenings. They don't take reservations but you can have a drink in the basement bar while you wait (I often have a yuzu cocktail but there's a great saké list too). It's a casual eatery and the turnover is relatively swift so don't be put off by a long wait time. The ramen is delicious – flavoursome and comforting – and there are various vegan and gluten-free options too.

Cafe Murano (no. 184) – Angela Hartnett's neighbourhood Italian

I've been to all of Angela Hartnett's trio of Cafe Muranos (Murani?) but my local on Bermondsey Street is the one I frequent most. Whether you order one of the simple but refined pasta dishes or one of the secondi, like my favourite chicken Milanese – or both, if you have a bigger appetite than I do! – you'll be sure to enjoy the quality of the ingredients and cooking. With its airy, elegant interiors, the Bermondsey restaurant is a great spot for people-watching, and there's also a good-value lunch and pre-theatre menu and it's a good choice for brunch.

Pizarro (no. 194) – José Pizarro's eponymous Spanish restaurant

Pizarro is best experienced on a summer's day when you can sit by the open windows and watch the denizens of Bermondsey pass by. But I'm happy as long as the croquetas are flowing freely, which they usually are when I'm doing the ordering. If possible, try to visit with a group of friends so that you can order a wide selection of dishes from the 'bites', tapas and mains sections of the menu. I usually order some jamón Ibéricopan con tomate and padrón peppers to start and either the presa Ibérica or one of the seafood dishes as a main. There's a lovely relaxed atmosphere and it's just as great for a lazy weekend lunch as a weeknight dinner. For a more casual option, head to José, the sister tapas bar at no. 104.

WatchHouse (no. 199) – locally roasted speciality coffee

WatchHouse has expanded across London – and most recently to New York City – over the years but I've been there since the first day its first location opened in 2014. It's my favourite place on Bermondsey Street for coffee. Located in the former watch house of St Mary Magdalen churchyard, WatchHouse now roasts its own coffee in one of the nearby railway arches of Maltby Street. The petite and unique interiors are beautifully designed and if you can't nab one of the few tables inside, there are usually a couple on the pavement — or you can head into the churchyard. They serve espresso-based drinks and single-origin filter coffee, and also sell pastries and bags of retail coffee beans.

Sentosa (no. 208) – Malaysian & Singaporean cuisine

The street food was one of the biggest highlights of my visit to Malaysia and Singapore in 2019 so I was very happy when Sentosa opened up last year. I've been several times now and the food and service have always impressed. My particular favourite dishes are the Hainanese chicken rice (I prefer the poached chicken to the crispy version) and char kway teow, a delicious stir-fried noodle dish with seafood. It's usually bustling of an evening and although there's not usually too long a wait for a table, you can also call them to book a table.

Flour & Grape (no. 214) – handmade pasta and Italian wine

With its cosy atmosphere and extensive pasta menu designed for sharing, Flour & Grape has long been a popular dinner spot. In fact it's so popular that there's often a wait for a table, but you can add your name to the virtual waiting list via the Dojo app. While you wait, I'd recommend getting a drink in the basement bar, Two One Four, which has excellent cocktails (keep it local with a Jensen's G&T). As for Flour & Grape, there are usually eight or nine hand-made pastas on offer – three dishes per two diners usually works out well. My favourites are the beef short rib pappardelle and the cacio e pepe bucatini. The wine menu is very accessible with descriptions such as, "peachy & very gulpable."

Fast casual / take-out optionsFranco Manca (no. 124) and Pizza Pilgrims (no. 2) for Neapolitan pizza and Honest Burgers (no. 6) for gourmet burgers.

Stock up on groceries at: Bermondsey Corner (no. 142): food, wine and other artisan goods — many produced locally – plus you can stop by for a drink and/or a bite; Comptoir Gourmand (no. 96): the most delicious bread, pastries and sweet treats, baked in Bermondsey; and The Giddy Grocer (no. 80): elevate your weekly grocery shop or pick out the perfect gift for the gourmand in your life.

Getting there: Bermondsey Street is five minutes' walk from London Bridge station (Northern and Jubilee Tube and mainline trains). It's also about 15     minutes' walk from Borough (Northern Line) and Bermondsey (Jubilee Line).

Looking for more London food and drink recommendations? Check out my list of my 50 favourite London restaurants.

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