The Wordrobe’s Editor Sophie Ritchie indulges with a meal at The Coal Shed, the Tower Bridge restaurant serving up coal-fired creations
Roughly 40,000 Londoners make their way across Tower Bridge each day. Some, for a sightseeing stroll. Some, for work. And some, like me, to visit The Coal Shed – the meat and seafood restaurant tucked away in the new One Tower Bridge development.
A sleek restaurant spread across two floors, The Coal Shed takes its name from a rather enticing menu – which serves up a selection of meats and South Coast seafood cooked over piping hot coals.
The name might also ring a bell – it’s the sister restaurant to the original Brighton venue, which holds a number of national and regional accolades, including being named as one of the best UK restaurants by the Observer Food Monthly awards.
Sister restaurants, much like sequels to iconic films, can be a tricky one to get right. But luckily, London’s taste of Brighton’s hotspot holds its own very well.
Nestled around the corner from the development’s main action awaits an open plan restaurant with orbs hanging from the ceiling. It’s a cosy space, filled with glossy tables, genial leather seats and mild colour schemes.
I visit on a midweek evening, expecting a fairly quiet space but instead, find myself in the midst of a bustling, chatty dining scene. Drinks are swilling, eyelashes are fluttering and forks are scraping across plates.
With its suave decor and intimate seating, it’s an excellent date spot and I can’t help but nosily wonder how many of the couples around me are meeting for the first time.
After being shown to a table by the large window (which overlooks a bubbling fountain and adjacent Champagne bar rather than the impressive Tower Bridge landscape) I waste no time in perusing the large, simplified menu.
I’m dining a la carte, but The Coal Shed also serves lunch, pre-theatre and heaving Sunday roast platters. The former is split into clear sections, offering everything from snacks and starters to meats and seafood. It aims to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds – and every appetite.
If you consider yourself a carnivore, The Coal Shed’s meaty mouthfuls are bound to impress. Chateaubriand steaks, Moroccan smoked goat, veal shins and more – there’s a wide array of fare to sink your teeth into.
Seafood options are equally good – and there’s a daily-changing market board for those looking to order rogue (although most require a duo of diners). There’s also a lot of sharing plates, which is perfect for larger groups. A couple of vegetarian options are tucked away, too.
I start with the Chargrilled Octopus (£10), a crispy, caramelised mouthful paired with aubergine and shiitake mushroom. Octopus can be chewy if not cooked correctly – but this is beautifully tender, gloriously paired with a tangy XO sauce.
For my main, I opt for the Monkfish, which comes paired with a well-presented dollop of crabmeat and large brocoli florets. The fish itself is deliciously meaty, a hunk of juicy white flesh cooked to perfection. High quality produce is imperative to The Coal Shed, and this shines through in the dish’s fresh flavours.
Portions have been large and by now, I’m far too full for a whole dessert plate. My dining companion seems equally defeated by her steak, until she eyeballs the menu again and starts cooing over the temptations.
Whilst I lack stomach space for a full dish, I do partake in a small decadent finish to the meal – a trio of delicate raspberry macaroons offered under the more petite ‘Sweet’ section.
The handy thing about The Coal Shed’s menu is that you can gorge or nibble – a versatility that’s ideal for differing appetites.
Paired with a mandatory cappuccino, the fluffy bright confectionary make a light finish to the meal… and also allow me to leave whilst still fitting through the doors.
The Wordrobe verdict
Suave decor, excellent produce and a menu fit for the connoisseur carnivore. Pay a visit to The Coal Shed for indulgent food with slick service and swish surrounds.
Make it happen
Where: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
How: Please visit coalshed-restaurantlondon.co.uk to make a booking.