02 Jul THE MAPPETITE MILE: WELCOME TO BERMONDSEY, BABY!
After some sketchy decades gentrification is inching away at the East End. While a pervasive cool has enveloped Shoreditch and Hoxton north of the River Thames, winds are now drifting south. Can’t find your way? Not to fear, no GPS necessary with the towering architectural feat that is The Shard to get you on your way to Bermondsey.
A couple of hundred years of downtrodden days left this East London neighborhood a locale non-grata through most of the 20th century.
Fast forward to 2012 and there’s a definitely a new cool along Bermondsey’s high street. Heading from THE SHARD and all its vertical shiny-ness
as Europe’s tallest building there’s something refreshing to the low scale profile and muted building colors along Bermondsey Street. Not much to see of the former leather factories and tanneries that once populated the area but there’s the historically significant architectural moment with the parish church of ST MARY MAGDALEN. For some modernity enter the broad courtyard and step into the colossal art galleries of the minimalist WHITE CUBE . If couture is your thing then by all means catwalk it to the FASHION & TEXTILE MUSEUM. This is all very charmed but, be warned, a walk away from Bermondsey Street into the London Bridge Quarter is likely to lead you to medicore housing and shopping complexes along the too-tight-with-tourists strip of the River Thames.
A handful of shops to catch your eye – a charmed florist selling chocolates and a made-in-England artisan shop selling crafty chotchkies – but unless you’re up for a bespoke woman’s moment at SUSIE STONE, there’s not much to engage your wallet along BermondseyStreet. Early bird? Then you’re set for a 4a.m. deal at the ANTIQUES MARKET that sets set up on Bermondsey Square every Friday morning. It’s the nearby BOROUGH MARKET that takes you on an inspired shopping tour that, while lacking in home decor and couture, excels in the culture of the culinary.
The Olympics may have you covered with event qualifying in-stadium dines but by far the meal medals are destined for London’s many stellar restaurants far from the din of cheering crowds. Bermondsey is no exception. Chefs with vision started setting up shop here a few years back and now Bermondsey is front and center on the list of meal musts stops.
At the rustic-minded Italian ANTICO skip the lounge for the dining room and a a close-to-perfect pasta plate. Add PIZZARO to the list of London’s excellent Spanish haunts; no doubts here with a menu under the influence of the ingredient-focused CAFE BRINDISA alum, Jose Pizzaro. Forget to book a table? Then by all means take a chance at his tapas and sherry bar, JOSE, just down the street, it’s all very Espana! From the Mediterranean lets head back to the ever so local British Isles. With a trove of fishmongers, farmers and butchers gathered at the nearby BOROUGH MARKET, there’s brilliance to the ingredients that shine through with the English eats at THE GARRISON PUBLIC HOUSE.
Quirky, if not a bit eccentric, you’re in for an exceptional meal. Likewise at VILLAGE EAST though this multiplex loses a bit of Charles Dickens charms with its contemporary style – no visions of Pip and Mrs. Havisham here.