If you’re in the Bankside/Borough Market area of London and looking to escape the sometimes-terrifying afternoon crowds, I’ve found the perfect hidden away place to explore, eat and drink. Say hi to Flat Iron Square, guys.
The Bankside Low Line project (a nod to the similar concept of the ‘High Line’ in NYC) is all about regenerating an area of London that hasn’t had so much love for a while. Better Bankside, who are running the project, are all about making the area a better place to live in, work in and enjoy visiting. The long-term vision is to create a walking route along the base of the rail viaduct, taking unused spaces and developing them into shops, restaurants and places of interest.
One of their first steps in the project involves Flat Iron Square. Opened in October, this stretch of the Low Line has seen the installation of a cluster of food and drink vendors, ranging from pizza to pancakes. Oh, and there’s a bar, obviously. I met up with some of my fave ladies for a Saturday lunchtime explore of the area – here are seven of my fave things about Flat Iron Square.
And yes. Half of them are foodie places. Come on, it’s me – did you really expect anything less…?
Pad Thai @ Ekachai
Pad Thai is one of my favourite Asian dishes, and something I’m quite particular about. Thankfully, Ekachai’s honest and authentic South East Asian cooking definitely fit the bill.
Serving us up a whole load of dishes to share (these guys obviously get the need for a flatlay), we got to sample basically the whole range. The Chicken Pad Thai (£6.50) was obviously my fave, with loads of tasty noodles and chicken piled up on the plate. Also deserving of a mention were the Pork Potsticker Fried Dumplings (£4.50 for 4 pieces). I haven’t really tried much in the way of Asian dumplings, but the ginger and pork went perfectly together, with a soft, wonderfully well-cooked dumpling exterior. More please!
It was pretty quiet when we went along, especially compared to the crazy Saturday bustle of the nearby Borough area, so if you’re looking for something to eat locally where you can actually sit down and enjoy your food, Flat Iron Square is a perfect lunch spot.
Joe Strummer room
Hidden away up a narrow, pink staircase, we discovered an insanely cool space. Tucked away upstairs, there’s an exhibition suite dedicated to Joe Strummer. With bare brick walls, the rooms showcase unseen gems from Strummer’s collection – including a retro typewriter, and handwritten lyrics displayed on the walls.
Pizza @ Baz and Fred
Oh hey there. Baz and Fred is basically a new entry into my top five London pizza joints. And I really like pizza, so that’s a pretty impressive accolade.
The Napoli Salami pizza (£8) was up first, and oh boy, it was goood. Slightly spicy salami and just enough chilli to give it a kick. And unlike some toppings, the salami on this one actually filled the whole slice. Plus, the rocket on top basically makes it healthy, right?
The Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion, Rocket & Balsamic pizza (£8.50) is basically smothered in what can be described as a supreme amount of cheesy goodness, topped off with tangy balsamic that gives it a real kick. Normally I’m all about the meaty pizzas, but to be honest, I’d probably pick this one next time (yes, there will definitely be a next time).
Oh, and definitely make sure you pick up a pot of their Garlic Dip (50p), perfect for crust-dipping.
OMEARA bar and venue
Tucked away under a railway arch at the heart of Flat Iron Square is OMEARA, a bar and venue owned by Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett. And the interior is absolutely stunning. Taking ‘shabby chic’ and making it super glamorous, the amount of work that’s gone into transferring the space into an atmospheric venue is severely impressive. It’s basically got the vibe of the sort of place where people a bit cooler than you would hang out but you’d still feel welcome.
There are some pretty good gigs coming up there in December, including Beans on Toast and Seafret, so keep an eye on their events page and definitely get yourself down to visit this awesome little venue.
Burnt Lemon Bakery
All the bread and cakes and delicious things. Who doesn’t love a bakery? Along with having super cool signage, Burnt Lemon Bakery serve up organic sourdough loaves. And it’s gooood.
If you’re not looking for something to take home to make up your ham sandwiches with, they also do toasties for those on the go. The salami, mozzarella, rocket and red onion focaccia actually sounds like the best sarnie I’ve never had yet. Especially after knowing how good the bread alone is…
And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re also in luck! Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, brownies and lemon drizzle cake; plus, HOW amazing does the chocolate ganache sea salt crumble on the board in the picture sound?
The TINCT workshop & pop-up store
Downstairs, we stumbled upon a pop-up shopping space and workshop area from TINCT, creators of leather goods. As well as being able to pick up their wares, in the evening, you can take part in workshops such as candle pouring and wreath making in the run-up to Christmas. For more information, check out their website!
Ramen @ Tatami
Ramen isn’t usually my go-to when I’m eating out (see above), but we tried a couple of dishes that could possibly change my mind at .Charlie was straight in there with the ramen (go girl!), and I followed suit pretty quickly – and it was delicious!
I tried the White Sesame Vegan Tan Tan (£10), which combined a smooth sesame taste with a bit of an extra kick, and the Samurai Iberico (£8), a Fukuoka style pork bone ramen topped with marinated, pressure cooked roast beef, hanjuku egg, leeks and nori seaweed. Both were delicious, although the Samurai Iberico in particular bowled me over. Plus, the bowl sizes were plenty generous and a portion would definitely more than fill me up.
The Low Line is such a cool, up and coming area with some great food spots. Definitely worth visiting for a laid-back, street food style lunch. Plus, you can take a walk around the area and check out some of the awesome architecture and hidden spaces that the average London visitor won’t see. I’ll definitely be heading back, it’s an awesome place to have relaxed hangouts with friends over a bowl of ramen/slice of pizza and a drink!
*We were guests at Flat Iron Square for a tour and some bites to eat – all pizza and Pad Thai obsessiveness my own…