Friday, 3 August 2012

The Table Café, Southwark: 18/20

Location: 83 Southwark Street SE1 0HX

Visit: Tuesday evening, Wednesday mid-morning, Thursday lunch

Ambiance 5/5
Design 4/5 (benches are not for looong sitting)
Drinks 4/5 (spirits to come!)
Staff 5/5
Extra LBC star

The Table Café. London’s Best Kept Secret.

As a tagline it worked for this Southwark Street eatery for a while but after seven years they are now stepping into the limelight and this is what their Tuesday night launch was all about. And they have a lot to shout about.

The Table was designed by the architect across the corridor; this used to be their office canteen which seems rather luxurious considering today’s limited real estate! It won’t help if I say it is like my office, but it is. There is a concrete ceiling and pillars. Windows are floor to ceiling and make up the walls. Seating is on sturdy wooden long tables and benches with orange cushions and there are high stools along the edges and (YES!) outdoor seating in a sheltered courtyard out back. The kitchen takes up the back wall and is open plan creating a nice buzz.


Open from 7.30am till 5pm and steadily increasing their evening hours too, weekdays will offer breakfast and lunch with coffee and cakes in between; weekends are more brunch and I have been told create queues out the door, oh my! Breakfast offers one of my favourite – and yet least explored options – of French toast with banana and bacon. Yes, both. The salty and sweet work so well. Lunch and dinner are inspired by new chef Cinzia Ghighoni who not only started Michelin bib winning Zucca with owner Sam but went onto London dining scene darling Duck Soup. She has infused the menu with Italian “small” and “large” plates as well as excellent Italian breads. The friggitelli and ricotta was a favourite (peppers!) as was grilled chorizo but what really took me by surprise was the beetroot. I don’t like it. Seriously; but this offering was almost sweet and so tasty I will go back for more. Could this be to do with how local this is? Vegetables come from just half a mile down the road from plots run by the St Mungos homeless programme. Ethical as well as delicious and the launch saw us take away boxes of this local produce (the “shard” chard was particularly good!)


The wine list has also had a make over by Matt Walls ( who has created a concise, interesting, food friendly list. I particularly like the Masseria Pietrosa Verdeca 2010 from the whites and the Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé 2011 from the rosés for interesting summer drinking. They continue their local theme with Coates and Seely English sparkling. It may be winning awards but like many local wines it has not convinced me yet… Do watch this space for some interesting news on spirits, the next menu they are drawing up.


Music To Dine For has seen The Table offer evenings of wine and fine dining paired with acoustic jazz. I cannot think of many better ways to while away an evening and look out for more tasting events to be put on as the year goes on.


There are big plans here. Shaun (@thetablecafe) manager and owner, has more than proved to investors that this little number has real gravitas. There will be work on the outdoor area, (much needed in this area), more events, a carefully chosen spirits menu and with Cinzia at the helm in the kitchen the only way is up.

Square Meal

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