Bar Tozino, Bermondsey
If you’re anything like me, you like to truly discover the City that you live in and love. Bar Tozino is an unpretentious, charming bodega hidden under the railway arches worth taking a detour for. Whether food shopping at Maltby Street market or antique hunting at Lassco, this little jamon bar is a reliable old friend in the neighbourhood serving trusty wares guaranteed to provide an instant pick me up. Perfect for dates or even a catch up with a friend, it’s the kind of place you’ll keep coming back to.
The menu consists mainly of quality hams, cheeses, wine, sherry and cava. It’s a small but well-formed menu and you will be very happy with everything that is bestowed upon you. Pan con tomate – bread with a little garlic and tomato – accompanies some Spanish cheeses, some quince jelly and some glorious slices of ham. Take a glass of sherry or a glass of cava to wash it down with. A specials board of some delicious hot tapas will not disappoint you either nor break the bank.
There’s nothing quite like working up an appetite with a great walk. Surprise your date post-work with an impromptu romantic tour around the decaying marvel that is Shad Thames. Immortalised in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist as the waterside home of the shady Bill Sykes, this atmospheric area of South East London makes for a wonderful moonlit stroll. If these lanes could talk, they’d tell stories galore. As you walk the Thames path, it’s hard not to be struck by the juxtaposition of the well-worn cobbled streets and the once thriving with industry warehouse buildings turned modern apartments inhabited with City slickers who work in skyscrapers and watch TV on their iPads. London never fails to surprise and delight.
Plan out a route to amble along the river, arm in arm and be sure to mark out some landmarks to signpost your journey. Don’t walk for too long though because the nights are drawing in and your destination for the evening awaits you. X marks the spot – treasure hunt dating – modern day pirates of the Thames. Enter via historic Ropewalk, itself brimming with history, swish through the velvet curtain keeping the draft out and settle in to nibble on nutty, buttery ham, sip on your favourite heady tipple and discuss your favourite things about London.
Emerge into the misty night huddling close on account of the cold and gentlemen, now might be a good time to offer her your coat. Catch a cab on Tower Bridge Road and head home to make your own history.
Un peu damp on those cold nights but the alcohol soon makes up for that. Oh and a little out of the way of civilisation in terms of London transport but again, get out of your routine a little and you might surprise yourself. Big red London buses serve the area quite well, don’t panic.
4. Down to earth and sensuous in a bread, meat and wine kind of way. Simple pleasures in an unaffected setting. Nothing sexier if you ask me.