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L.C. at Climpson’s Arch

Climpson’s Arch has been fertile ground for future restaurateurs to prototype their business model before meeting the embrace of their investors-to-be. And you are clearly responding to these delicious propositions, voting with your wallets, what with the soaring success of its alumni including Dave Pynt’s Burnt Enz (now Burnt Ends in Singapore, with a spot on that list which shall remained unnamed), Tomos Parry (now at Kitty Fishers) and fresh this year and runaway success, Som Saa.

This arch plays like theatre to a rotation of residencies and latest as of October ’15, it has hosted Portuguese dinners that have enthralled you loveable Instagrammers, gleefully clogging up my feed. This is my first visit and you know what, I cannot help but join you.

But first let’s start by admiring the theatre, taking the form of a corrugated steel roof, shaped onto the railway arch under which this restaurant sits. It’s bigger than the photos suggest and it goes deep inside to where (I assume) Climpson’s roastery is located in the rear. I think now is the perfect time to visit, they push open the double fronted doors to the elements, letting the air, the rays and whaffs from the outdoor kitchen in. Out there is where you will find main man Leandro Carreira and his chef-lieutenant Julian Goh.

The Leiria native has a glowing past with Mugaritz and Viajante on his CV as well as guest spots with James Lowe and blackboard takeovers at Koya before it closed its doors last year.

My exposure to Portuguese cuisine starts from one restaurant cum cafe cum deli cum patisserie in Vauxhall and ends in a Taberna in the Spitafields Market, and so this is all a bit new to me. We do however love our seafood and Leo’s menu is a reflection of his coastal upbringing. Cooking food of his roots cold and in coal, with all manner of fermenting, salting, smoking and simply on the grill.

Front of house is choreographed by sommelier Cameron Dewar, whom you will instantly recognise from his impressively feral James Howlett style beard. He was recently with Burnt Ends and if my googler sleuthing is correct, Cameron is ex-Viajante and has also spent time with Medlar, one of my favs in town.

Cameron has curated a mostly Portuguese wine list, save for the odd French red, though he is pouring German Riesling throughout July. From plastic tumblers, I drank a glass of 2012 Shafer Frohlich Troken (£6.5/125ml) that was lively like sourdough, mineral and high in citrus. I followed with a Portuguese orange wine, 2015 Agronvinaz ‘Luminosco’ (£6/125ml), also effervescent and so fresh, peaches and apricot, with a peppery finish. The better half is dry this month, so she had a house-made lemon cordial that was sweet.

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