One of the more difficult aspects of living in London is the sheer volume of homelessness. Coming out of the station in the morning, walking to lunch and sightseeing – it’s inevitable and really heartbreaking to see. I’ve bought food, socks and have given money to the homeless, but I’m aware that it isn’t enough. Working in the hospitality industry, I’ve often questioned why restaurants aren’t able to give surplus food and while some of them do, there are health and safety restrictions that prohibit doing that. However, there is one restaurant in London that is changing the lives of hundreds of homeless people in London and I had the pleasure of eating there a few months ago.
Brigade Bar & Kitchen, founded by chef Simon Boyle, offers certified apprenticeships to people who are homeless or at the risk of becoming homeless. Simon founded the Beyond Food Foundation, which teaches the homeless culinary skills to help motivate and inspire them to get their lives back on track. Almost everybody who works at Brigade, from the chefs to the servers and the front of house staff are working hard on creating a new and positive life for themselves. I was blown away by the fantastic overall experience.
You MUST try the aged beef dripping focaccia with whipped yeasted butter (£3.50). Crispy on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside, buttery and salty, it’s the perfect starter to enjoy with a glass of dry white wine.
Creamy burrata with pickled heritage beetroot, olive oil and toasted crumbs on top (£9) is as delicious as can be.
The confit pork shoulder, charred gem salad, granny smith apples, roast potatoes topped with sour apple mayo (£10) is one of the best salads I’ve had. The tart green apples cut through the saltiness of the pork and the crispy potatoes perfectly.
You’ll be spoiled for desserts, that is if you have room for it. If you do, I highly recommend the Sticky Toffee Pudding with toffee sauce and milk ice cream (£6.50).
Our dinner was utterly fantastic. The service superb and quality of the dishes outstanding. I really admire everything Brigade stands for and I find it truly inspiring that it is helping so many homeless people find the right path and learn the skills necessary to be successful. I went to Brigade as part of a press dinner, but all views and opinions are my own. I’ll be back to experience it with friends and family!
A huge thank you to the team at Brigade for hosting a most memorable evening 🙂