In the vibrant new Finsbury Avenue Square, just behind Liverpool Street, Bar Douro is a culinary portal to Portugal in the heart of London. Born from a lineage connected to the vineyards of Douro Valley, this restaurant is the brainchild of owner Max Graham, who is determined to showcase the unsung delights of Portuguese cuisine in London. Bar Douro isn’t just a dining spot; it’s a vibrant celebration of Portugal, wrapped in the authenticity of the cuisine and an incredibly social atmosphere.
The driving force behind Bar Douro is a deep-seated passion for Portuguese food. This enthusiasm is infectious, as seen in how the staff engage, sharing stories and insights about the dishes, leaving you torn between wanting every dish on the menu. And why not? It’s this personal touch that transforms a meal at Douro into an event.
Bar Douro’s setting complements its culinary ethos perfectly. The space embodies the relaxed essence of Portuguese dining. The menu’s design caters to a variety of dining moods – from quick bar bites to leisurely shared meals, echoing the communal essence of Portuguese eating traditions. It’s a place that embraces the convivial spirit of dining, encouraging guests to linger over their food and conversations.
The commitment to authenticity and quality at Bar Douro is striking, especially given the relaxed atmosphere. Each dish is crafted with deep respect for traditional flavours and techniques. The authenticity in every bite speaks volumes of the culinary ability that Bar Douro brings to London.
Highlights of the menu include the Milho Frito, a crispy polenta dish with a kick from the fermented red pepper sauce, and the half grilled cabbage – juicy charred veg meeting a velvety soubise sauce. The duck and chouriço rice provides a true taste of Portugal’s rustic cuisine with every quickly recurring mouthful. For meat enthusiasts, the rich charcuterie traditions of Portugal are a must-try. The Croquetes de Alheira – delicate smoky Portuguese sausage croquettes – are also unmissable. To balance the selection, the seafood option of marinated mackerel gives flaky rich morsels of the sea.
Ending the meal, the Pastel de Nata is law. These pastries, with their creamy custard filling, are a sweet homage to Portugal’s beloved dessert.
London’s view of Portuguese food will never be the same. In a prime spot for after-work drinks, the rustic taste of Portugal has become so available it would be a waste not to try. As a quiet ambassador of Portuguese cuisine, Bar Douro offers an experience that’s as enriching as it is delicious. Elevating a casual dining night with such carefully designed, exquisite dishes and expertly sourced regional wines showcases a skill and passion that reflects a deep love for the Douro Valley and Portuguese traditions.