I first stumbled across Brigade, when I was out in London Bridge with my girlfriend, road-testing the new GOtilo Compass app (more on that very soon, folks), looking for a suitably socially enterprising bar at which to grab a quick cocktail.
From the outside, on bustling Tooley Street, somewhere between the station and the ultra-modern More London complex, it looked like a typically polished central London spot, with an open kitchen, a stacked bar, plenty of polish and pizzazz about the place.
— Jascots Wine (@JascotsWine) December 5, 2017
Under the hood, however, something truly wonderful was happening. For Brigade is a pioneer social enterprise restaurant, which helps homeless folks develop skills and motivation to find employment in hospitality. As they put it,
When you pay your bill, you help our apprentices transform their lives.
The restaurant and wider community interest company are the brainchild of Chef Simon Boyle. Having started as an apprentice aged 16 at The Savoy, Simon then worked for the legendary Anton Mosimann and became the first ever Culinary Ambassador for global giant Unilever. The fight against homelessness however was his passion and since 2004 he has dedicated his life to that, alongside his passion for food.
Brigade is a wonderful place, brimming with verve, sure of its social mission, always hungry to do that little bit more to make its patrons feel like it is part of something bigger. Check out these lovely Christmas puds that roped in volunteers from office workers in the More London complex.
— BeyondBrigade (@BeyondBrigade) December 6, 2017
We had a lovely time. The cocktails were fantastic, hot and bubbly in our case (well, it was Christmas, after all) though I do like the look of these detox beauties they have just put on the menu.
And the food is straddles that line wonderfully between healthy and indulgent. Good food, cooked well, by people with a passion for flavour and taste.
There are some wonderful offers through January too.
⚠️⚠️New offer live! Book a table with us for breakfast and receive a complimentary hot drink! ☕️ To make a booking call us on 02070899444 or find us via DesignMyNight booking system! #earlybird #freecoffee 🍳 pic.twitter.com/Fvgaqc2SsF
— BeyondBrigade (@BeyondBrigade) January 9, 2018
And also up to 50% off meals:
— BeyondBrigade (@BeyondBrigade) January 3, 2018
All told, this whole package comes heartily recommended. I know, I know, sometimes we spoil you, dear readers.