Arthur Hooper's restaurant in Borough Market is a lively, bustling place which specialises in European style small plates. It has a good vegetarian selection, particularly if you are a cheese lover and makes excellent use of fresh, seasonal vegetables.
There's something about Borough Market on a summer's evening. Although the market stalls have closed for the day the streets are full, there's a hum of conversation and laughter and the restaurants and pubs are busy, with people spilling out onto the pavements enjoying food, drink and simply spending time with friends.
It's hard to write about Borough Market without mentioning the terrorist attack that took place there in June this year. This isn't the place to dwell on that but from what I can tell from the couple of times I've visited the market recently the attacks haven't deterred people from visiting and enjoying everything that the area has to offer.
Arthur Hooper's restaurant
The restaurant is named after Arthur Hooper, a fruit and veg salesman from Borough in the Victorian times. My husband and I visited Arthur Hooper's on a very rare date night. It was so good to go out together!
Arthur Hooper's opened in the spring of this year, 2017. It's a busy, bustling place, which was full when we arrived at 8pm, including the outside area. The place was lively with conversation and began to feel cosy as the skies outside darkened. The interior is described as "rough jewel box". To my layman's eye I'd say it was smart, monochromatic and stylish without being cold. In fact it was a very warm and friendly place to spend the evening.
We sat at a raised area on stools (to the left of the photo above) near to the main entrance.
It felt all very grown up and to be honest quite delightful without any children in tow. I'd contemplated a lunchtime review which would have given me better light for the photos but I'd have had to have two-year-old S in tow - which never makes for a relaxing lunch.
So what did we eat?
Arthur Hooper's specialises in small plates, and in meats and cheeses sourced from local traders. As a vegetarian I was delighted to see that while there were five meat dishes and three fish dishes there were a grand total of seven vegetarian dishes (four mains and three sides). It's also possible to order plates of cheese or cured meat.
Here's what we ordered:
- burrata, samphire and almond salad
- harissa butter beans, charred tenderstem broccoli, salted ricotta and nigella seeds
- fregola, season tomatoes, fresh peas and Androuet goat's curd
- English asparagus, roasted hazelnuts and crispy Parmesan
- sautéed rosemary jersey royal potatoes
- my husband also had a plate of salmon paté, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
My favourite item on the menu was the asparagus with hazelnuts and crispy parmesan. Those parmesan crisps were so tasty and I always love asparagus - I just wish it had a longer season as it always seems to be gone just when I'm getting into eating it!
The harissa butterbeans with tenderstem broccoli was delicious too and this was my husband's favourite dish. They weren't particularly spicy but had such a good flavour. Harissa butterbeans will definitely be appearing on our dinner table some time soon.
We also really enjoyed the burrata with samphire and almonds. Burrata - an Italian cheese made with mozzarella and cream - always feels like such a treat and the samphire and almonds went perfectly. The only dish that didn't blow us away was the fregola - a small round pasta. It was nice but I just wasn't totally convinced by the texture of the fregola.
Wine at Arthur Hooper's
Neither of us are wine connoisseurs. My husband had a couple of beers (both brewed in London) and I had a glass of rioja rosado and an Argentinean malbec. The latter is always my fallback having spent six months living in Argentina in our pre-kid days with ample opportunity to sample the wines in our local supermercado. We were also treated to a couple of glasses of A Mano Italian wine from Puglia instead of dessert which we were far too full to enjoy (although having since seen photos of the chocolate hazelnut pot and the ricotta cheesecake with rhubarb orange compote I am beginning to regret that decision!).
It is kid-friendly?
Kids are welcome at Arthur Hooper's during the day and high chairs are available. There is no children's menu but don't let that put you off . On the contrary the small plates are perfect for sharing with children and encouraging them to try something new.
We had a lovely evening at Arthur Hooper's in Borough Market and thoroughly enjoyed the wine, the meal and the atmosphere. The chef has done a brilliant job of creating a menu which uses fresh, seasonal vegetables, interesting flavours and plenty of local ingredients. However, I would like to challenge the chef to create one or more vegetarian course without cheese. As much as I enjoy cheese, it can feel a bit much eating cheese with every dish as so often happens when you order vegetarian food.
Arthur Hooper's restaurant is at 8 Stoney Street, London Bridge SE1 9AA. Call ahead to reserve a table on 0207 940 0169.
If you like this you might like my review of Rum & Sugar.
Can't face going out? How about a private chef instead?
Disclaimer: we were offered a free meal at Arthur Hooper's in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and are my own.