This is the first London restaurant venture for Leandro Carreira, who has built up a following for assorted recent pop-up ventures in the capital. He has worked as head chef of Viajante, as well as having stints at Lyles and Koya, and spent time at Mugaritz. It is located in what turned out to be the aptly named Snowsfields in Southwark, there being snow on the ground the night that we visited. The dining room is simple, with no tablecloths and an open kitchen at one end. The menu focuses on Portuguese dishes in “small plates” format, and we were recommended to order three dishes apiece from the list of savoury dishes.
The wine list was mostly from Portugal, Spain and France, and featured labels such as Celler Credo Miranius at £36 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £13, Filipa Pato Territora Vivo Baga 2015 at £49 compared to its retail price of £20, and Remelluri Reserva Rioja 2010 at £60 for a wine that will set you back £29 in the shops. Bread was sourdough, supplied from the nearby Snapery Bakery in Riley Road, and had very good texture.
Mackerel (£14) came as artfully arranged slices with “wild piso” (coriander pesto). The fish had quite good flavour and was nicely cooked, the piso perhaps not the most obvious accompaniment for the oily fish (13/20). Prawns with mustard sauce (£10) were accurately cooked, the mustard sauce quite gentle in flavour but working well (14/20).
Brill came with onions and broth. The fish was cooked well enough, but for me it needed something more lively than some onions to go with it. Brill has firm texture and slightly sweet flavour, but for me it struggles to stand on its own in the same way as turbot can. I found the dish to be rather under-seasoned, though I appreciate that this is somewhat a matter of personal taste (12/20).
Smoked beef with Jerusalem artichokes and whey (£12) had good texture, the earthy artichoke flavour a good pairing for the meat (14/20). Pigeon came with ramsoms, kohlrabi and coriander, the meat cooked pink and having pleasant flavour, the cabbage a pleasant contrast to the richness of the bird (13/20). On the side, spinach esparraegado (mousse) was very bland, with no obvious trace of the garlic and nutmeg that this dish might be expected to have, and any seasoning was undetectable. This seemed ambitiously priced at £6 (11/20). Better were potatoes with garlic, which were nicely cooked (13/20).
Grilled soaked brioche with hazelnuts and sour caramel was an enjoyable dessert, the texture of the nuts contrasting nicely with the texture of the brioche (14/20). I preferred this to aged pear, sabayon and garlic crumb, which just tasted odd to me – a combination of lfavours I didn’t think worked (11/20).
Coffee was from Volcanic coffee and was pleasant. Service was very good, with a particularly engaging and helpful female sommelier. The bill was £128 a head, albeit with plenty of nice wine. The food at Londrino was generally pleasant, and the service was very welcoming. However these small plate format bills quickly start to add up, with bread charged extra and the side dish of spinach a very ambitious £6, for example. If you shared a modest bottle of wine and ordered the recommended three dishes per person, and then had dessert and coffee then a typical cost per head might be nearer £80. To be honest that seems a lot of money for what is appearing on the plate.