2 Castle Square, Elephant Rd, London SE17 1EN www.tupilondon.com
Regenerated and reborn, the Elephant & Castle is starting to get the restaurants the new residents are looking for
Years ago, within the financial context people used the expression ' green shoots of recovery' and I always found it riveting, in a funny sort of way.
It feels pertinent right now to the Elephant & Castle areas, where green spaces are actually being created where ugly, brutalist council estates used to be.
Yes, the dreaded regeneration is underway and allegedly pushing people out but is also creating some lovely grounds and recreation facilities.
Another consequence is that a few known brands and names are also taking up residency here: coffee shops, fancy gyms and restaurants.
We had a chance to one of these newcomers located in the newly created 'Elephant Square' opposite the rail station.
Tupi London already have a branch in Peckham and have now opened up a bright new venue overlooking the attractive pedestrianised square; the restaurant has a number of tables on the outdoor patio and a pleasant bar area inside, as well as the dining room itself.
We visited for dinner and were welcomed by a refreshing, fruity blueberry mojto (they have happy hour between 4 and 7pm and offer a short but well put together list of cocktails).
Starters arrived in swift succession: polenta slices with mushroom and truffle were rich, moreish and aromatic; the pan fried halloumi with guava jam was deliciously soft, nicely roasted and not too salty, the guava offered a touch of sweetness to complement it.
The real treat was a delicate scallop dish with corn cream, truly beautiful and light, while crispy fried chicken wings were dry and not particularly flavoursome.
The mains’ menu is a mix of Brazilian inspired dishes with what seems to be a strong Italian influence.
I followed our server’s recommendation and tried a short rib of beef with black beans and toasted cassava flour, a Brazilian specialty; I thought the rib was delicious, the meat rightly falling off the bone and richly stewed, with nicely done beans too, yet the portion was small, as only one rib offer barely any meat and priced at £14, is a bit steep especially around here.
My companion opted for a vegan main, a fairly substantial portion of kale, tofu and quinoa, again a little pricey at £13, and with some slightly too salty elements (the kale) but overall enjoyable.
The choice of pudding is not huge but offers enough to satisfy different palates; we shared a flourless chocolate cake with coconut ice cream which was very good, creamy without being heavy and well flavoured.
The banana bread with hazelnut and yogurt was great, the sponge itself as light as a feather, with hazelnuts to provide a good crunch and the yogurt some freshness and acidity.
We really enjoyed Tupi (particularly the starters and the desserts) and will definitely visit again, maybe for one of their brunches or breakfast. They open every day from 8am for breakfast, lunch and dinner.