Test Driving Bar Douro City - a Portuguese haven in Broadgate

roomStart with this, their ever-so-thinly sliced pata negra ham (£14) - an exceptional plate of charcuterie. 

What can you tell us about Bar Douro City?

The first of this pair of Portuguese restaurants opened in London Bridge back in 2016. With a menu of Portuguese tapas, a focus on counter dining with a wine list that's strong on Portuguese wine, it quickly became a big hit. This is their second restaurant and it's right in the heart of the City of London. 

Where is it?

You'll find it in the Finsbury Avenue Square section of Broadgate, about equidistant from both Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations. 

Where could I go for a drink first?

If Bar Douro is busy, and that seems to be a fair bet, post-work, it's not going to be easy to grab a pre-dinner drink there. But the City is home to plenty of pubs with City workers pouring out of them in the evening. If you're after a cocktail, head to Broadgate Circle for the ship-themed Mrs Fogg's Dockside Drinkery & Distillery.

roomMore good snacking food - the smoked Portuguese sausage croquettes. Meatier than their Spanish cousins, there's no bechamel involved here. 

Where should we sit?

If there are two of you, then we'd say that the counter is probably the best bet, otherwise, any of the seats here are fine. Tables are close together, so don't plan any secret business deals here.

So the menu - small plates?

Yes, small plates and snacks - but with one exception that we didn't get round to ordering this time around, which are the "Tachos" or clay pots. These are rice dishes - served with either wild mushrooms or crab. If you fancy trying one of these, hold back on ordering too many small plates (advice we didn't take, alas..!). Otherwise, dishes will be sent out as the kitchen is ready, so we'd suggest only ordering 2-3 dishes at a time. 

On our visit, in addition to the above, we had:

roomHalf of the suckling pig sandwich in bolo de caco (£7). The other half was snaffled in double quick time before this pic...

roomBacalhau a Bris (salt cod hash, £6) - great as a side to some of the other plates.

roomSquash, homemade requiejao and pumpkin seed vinaigrette (£9) - first class veggie dish with a stellar dressing.

roomPresa Iberica with kale and migas (£16) - this is a must-have. We love presa at any time and accompanying it with kale and the crunchy migas made for an almost perfect dish.

Room for dessert?

Obviously it wouldn't be a proper Portuguese restaurant without pastel de nata on the menu, so we obviously had to try those. But there's another must-have too...

roomPao-de-lo de Ovar (£5) - this traditional Portuguese cake has a custard flavour to it and may now have eclipsed the pastel de nata as our favourite Portuguese dessert. The batter is dropped into the paper and cooked in it and you have to peel that away to get at the cake. Do not leave without ordering this. 

roomPastel de nata custard tart with cinnamon ice cream (£4.50) - of course, their pastel de nata are also pretty wonderful too, served warm from the oven. 

What about the drinks?

There's a short (six red/white, two sparkling/rose), exclusively Portuguese wine list that starts at £24 a bottle, heading up to £64 for the Churchill’s Estate ‘Grande Reserva’ Douro. 

Cocktails are G&Ts (£10-£14) and are enhanced with extras (like fresh ginger & grapes) and there's also a white port and tonic aperitif.  As well as some Portuguese spirits, there is obviously a port section too, all Churchill's and if you're really pushing the boat out, head straight for that 1997 vintage port at 14 a glass, £105 a bottle. 

(Note - we didn't realise at the time of dining, but there is also a more extensive cellar wine list with prices heading up to the £300 mark if you've had a particularly good day in the City. So make sure to ask for that if you're looking for more options). 

Overall thoughts?

Packed when we visited, Bar Douro is clearly doing something right. Great Portuguese tapas and small plates paired with a well-priced wine list make this one an instant winner. They've a small terrace outside too, and we predict that a seat there will be a hot ticket this summer.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Bar Douro. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 


More about Bar Douro City

Where is it? 1 Finsbury Ave, London EC2M 2PF

Find out moreVisit their website or follow them on Twitter @bardouro.

Book Bar Douro City


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