Arch 35b Flat Iron Square, Union Street, SE1 1TD
WLC Rank : 59
Cuisine: Wine bar
Glass from : £ 4.50 (125 ml)
BEST FORPortuguese only wine list
Port tasting flights
Visiting chefs series
Emerging from a railway arch, Bar Douro is a gastronomic festival of Portugal created by Max Graham of the famous Port dynasty.
With fetching Portuguese tiles and long, tall, slaking marble counters at which you can easily while away an afternoon, Bar Douro wine bar and mezzanine cellar adorns one of seven railway arches in Flat Iron Square, near Borough Market.
It is run by artist and restaurateur, Max Graham whose father Johnnie founded Churchill’s Port in 1981, being the first new Port house to emerge in half a century. Port, of course, features at Bar Douro, with Churchill’s Reserve,14 LBV, 10-Year-Old and vintage ‘97 all available by the glass, while the white slaked with tonic becomes especially alluring on a summer’s day.
The rest of the list, illustrated with a map highlighting regional flavour profiles, is exclusively Portuguese. “We endeavour to show the very best the country has to offer, from less accessible reserves through to natural wines and more experimental projects at the vanguard of Portugal’s wine scene,” says Graham, who regularly undertakes reconnaissance in Portugal. “I recently tried Mateus Nicolau de Almeidas Curral Teles at Euskalduna Studio, a favourite restaurant of mine in Porto. Bar Douro now imports it and it’s our latest edition to the Cellar List. Light, fresh and full of those ‘Esteva’ (gum-cistus) resiny notes that are characteristic of The Douro. This is a younger generations approach to this historic terroir delivering light and elegant wines, less extracted and with a minimal intervention approach…”
Colourful, generously flavoursome dishes are by Sean Marsh, “an honorary member of our Portuguese family,” says Graham, whose love of Portuguese cuisine “began with a pop-up in the Algarve, quickly escalating to a position at two Michelin-starred Vila Joya, followed by two years at St. John.” These may include croquettes near to bursting point with smoked Portuguese sausage, a salt cod hash, char-grilled sardines with blistered peppers and shaved fennel, and, with a little notice, whole suckling pig, followed by toucinho do céu (yolk almond cake egg yolk almond cake). “New on the menu, our Crab Rissole pairs beautifully with Marcio Lopes’ Alvarinho,” says Graham.
Bar Douro recently launched a Guest Chef series, “hosting some of our favourite chefs from Portugal, who create a menu in which we add a wine pairing.” Participants include Antonio Galapito from Lisbon’s Prado, whose pudding of pear, honey ice cream and oats meets Churchill’s Dry White Port.
By Douglas Blyde.