What’s the vibe?
A vast “wine emporium”-cum-bistro, Bedales of Borough originally launched in the now world-famous market in 2012. Today, it’s a three-storey venue (it used to be a potato warehouse, but you might know it as the Greek restaurant from that Bridget Jones film) having just had a major facelift with seating for 60, a temperature-controlled wine cellar and open kitchen as well as a spacious terrace overlooking Borough Market on which to enjoy a glass or two of wine from an impressive 400 bottle-long list. (You can also just buy wine to take away.)
What’s the cuisine?
Founded by Rob Dann and Jamie Watts, the duo behind American seafood restaurant BOB’s Lobster, Bedales is all about upscale wine bar dining at incredibly reasonable prices. Given its location, it’s no surprise that the menu is market-led and seasonal. Whether you’re a veggie or an eat-it-all you’ll find plenty on the menu and super friendly staff will happily advise on what’s good, what’s great and what will go with your drink of choice from the short but enticing menu.
What are the veggie options?
We began with marinated mammoth olives, Olivier’s Bakery Sourdough, and a generous helping of lovely, salty, blistered padrón peppers. A heritage tomato salad, with mustard dressing, crumbled feta, fried shallots and sweet herbs was delicious and can also be made vegan. Mushroom ceviche with miso aubergine and ponzu dressing was nice, but a tad underwhelming after the hit of the peppers. At our waitress’s suggestion (she’s in aviation but is so passionate about food and drink she works here as a side hussle) we tried the braised leeks, which came gloriously soft and chewy with a good vinaigrette and lots of walnuts. Despite the reasonable pricing (tomato salad was £9, the leeks just £6) portions are extremely generous.
David considered the Denver steak with smashed baby potatoes, roast red onions and herb sauce (the most expensive dish on the menu at £12) but instead opted for the pork meatballs with tomato gravy, garlic-rubbed sourdough and shaved pecorino. They were, in his words, ‘bloody delicious’. He also liked his crab salad – another generous dish with plenty of crab meat, courgette ribbons and sweet herbs. There’s also a charcuterie offering that includes speck, 90-day aged bresaola, and chicken liver mousse, should that kind of thing tickle your fancy.
You could, however, bypass both veggie and meat options and head straight for the cheeses, all, obviously sourced from Borough Market. A plate five, from a selection that includes Tomme Chambrouze (soft, made from raw goat’s milk), Comté and Fourme d’Ambert, will set you back £18 and comes with house pickles and bread.
What about sustainability?
The terms of Bedales’ lease includes a mandate to source from the traders at Borough Market wherever possible. This is a “dream scenario”, says, Rob Dunn, one of the owners. “There is no shortage of inspiration, and because we are spoilt for choice we have virtually no food waste, only buying what we need when we need it.” The market itself has a commitment to send no waste to landfill, and many of the traders are signed up to the Slow Food movement.
The new terrace was made for people watching, so grab yourself a spot there if you can. Trains pass by regularly so be prepared to shout at times or sit in comfortable silence while they rattle by.
What’s the verdict?
Bedales is a bargain! Great food, great wine, great service. We will be back.
Words by Steven Short