Bob’s Lobster, Unit 71, St Thomas Street, London SE1 3QX (020 7407 7099). Snacks and small plates £3.50-£eleven; massive dishes £12-£22; seafood tower £40; desserts £6; wines from £25 In the films that deliver her name, the fictitious Bridget Jones lives a brief, tear-stained, snot-smeared stumble from the actual region of Bob’s Lobster, tucked into one of the areas underneath the newly renovated London Bridge station. It’s tidy in shape because this will be precisely the type of place Bridget might need to visit to eat away the ache of a calamitous spoil-up. Specifically, she must order the fries with mussels and bacon chowder because they’ll make everything higher. I say “with” the chowder because that’s how the menu describes it; “submerged in” is towards the mark.
A deep, soothing bowl of wine and cream-based chowder, bobbing with Ford Cortina-orange mussels, has been dumped an entire serving as a proper alternative chip. Pile some greater part mussels on top, with a bacon crumb and finely diced green herbs and spring onions to make it appear as if all of the crucial food companies have been covered, and there you have it: solace in a bowl. It’s a pescatarian take on Lancashire’s classic chips and gravy. The ones at the top are crisp; those below are a yielding soggy mess of cream and seafood and potato and profundity. Lean over and shovel it until your cheeks are slicked with soup and the horrific thoughts have faded.
It’s an outrageous and joyous menu object – the phrase “dish” is probably pushing it – which sums up the whole-frontal assault of the food here. The cooking laughs in the face of the American dishes it names on the menu more often than not. The succotash isn’t pretty; the shrimp and grits would make a local of the kingdom of Georgia frown. None of those subjects, because most of it’s far superb. It’s called Bob’s Lobster, as it grew out of Bedales of Borough’s initials. The wine bar returned close to the marketplace (which, as it happens, occupies the website of what was the Greek restaurant in the original Bridget Jones movie). It helps that the founder is known as Roberto Dann; a bona fide Bob is involved.
Dann was trying to diversify from their wine and small plates offering, so he imported an antique pink-and-white VW camper van and started flogging lobster rolls out of it at Borough Market. The polished camper van now sits in the excessive-ceilinged area they’ve taken over in the crimson-brick undercarriage of London Bridge station. It’s contrary to the Vinegar Yard Road food market that opened multiple months ago. What was, until very lately, a deserted and scuffed Bermondsey drag is now, on a warm Thursday night, complete of bustle and shout and the merry clink of glass on glass.
At Bob’s, a bar is knocking out foaming pisco sours. They have an oyster satisfied hour past due every Monday to Friday afternoon with bivalves at a quid. For £eight, they will make you a fish finger sandwich or fried bird with anchovy salsa verde, even as £forty receives you a “seafood tower” of oysters and prawns, salmon tartare, scallops, and tuna tostada. For a further £20, they’ll chuck the lobster tail on, too.
We begin with tuna tacos, which arrive tucked into a deep groove chiseled down an elegant wood plank, so it seems like a taco luge. It’s a significant amount of engineering to hold these smart pockets of sashimi-grade tuna, wasabi-boosted guacamole, chipotle-flavored cream, and deep-fried wonton shells contained. There are 4 of them for £9. Each is three or four gratifying mouthfuls of delicate uncooked fish, acidity, crunch, and spice. Unlike the chowder-splashed fries, ingesting these feels like an act of virtue.
As does the succotash, which needs to, in all likelihood, come interior inverted commas. It maintains to the essentials, being an aggregate of sweetcorn and vast podded beans. The addition of courgettes, fresh mint, and crumbled feta leads it closer to the southern Mediterranean than the south of the US. More acquainted is the lobster and crayfish roll in a tender, sweet, and toasted brioche bun: a piece of claw meat, numerous crayfish (to preserve the rate beneath £20), a bed of crunchy coleslaw and all is proper with the world.