18–20 Southwark Street
Tel: 020 7357 8880
Date of Last Visit: Feb 22, 2005
The Victims: Al and Alex
I had plans to meet up with my friend Al’s wife Louise at Brindisa off of Borough Market. She caught the flu, unfortunately, so it was just me and Al, so I invited Alex along too as he wasn’t in Germany working on distressed debt, like he normally is. We all met up at 7:15, and there was already a one-hour wait for a table. So we went to the pub across the street to wait things out. The pub was pleasant in the evening, with cool lighting and interesting wall paper. A repeat trip on Saturday afternoon in the harsh light of day did not yield such an alluring atmosphere for the pub, but Brindisa looked just as welcoming as it had earlier in the week.
But I digress. So we made it into Brindisa. After about a 15 minute wait (on top of the initial hour, where we missed our names called while we were across the street at the pub) at a small stand-up table in the bar area, we were shown a regular sit-down table. The nice thing about the bar area is that they were happy for us to order there and move our food to our sit-down table once we had one. So that’s what we did. Nice touch.
We started off with an tortilla–yummy–and some spinach with pine nuts–also extremely yummy. The cod with alioli was fantastic…very buttery. Al and I kept saying "It’s like bread," and we meant it in a good way. We had a number of different types of sausage, all very yummy. The one dish I wasn’t a fan of were the clams–they tasted a bit too raw and unmarinated to me. Being a good Long Island girl, I normally love clams right out of the ocean so I count this as a big strike against Brindisa, but otherwise, we lapped up all our food and loved it all.
Service was super-friendly and attentive, although we had the typical English issue of having multiple people wait on us, so we were never quite sure who to flag down. The host was not the friendliest dude in the world, but the place was packed so I’ll cut him some slack for having to work in a high-pressure high-turnover environment. And we weren’t around when he initially called our names, so that’s a strike for us too.
All in all, I am very happy to have Brindisa in the ‘hood. I was also quite surprised to see that on a Saturday during Borough Market hours, there didn’t seem to be much of a wait between 11:45 and 12:45.
The Verdict: Make the trek south of the river and definitely order the spinach. Consider visiting early on a Saturday pre-Borough-market-mania.