Here at Secret London, we’ve heard of some pretty unique venues. There’s the cocktail bar inside the Mac repair store for example, or the Japanese restaurant inside a jazz club. Amazing Grace, located mere moments from London Bridge station, firmly secured its spot amongst these cool venues when it opened its doors a little over a year ago; a live music venue in a 17th-century converted church.
Retaining many of its original features, Amazing Grace perfectly combines the old with the new. Historical elements like the original alter at the front of the church are side by side with more modern attributes, like the performance stage and projection wall, making for a rather impressive set up. The venue is set across two floors: the ground floor, with a bar, the stage and seating; and a first floor, mezzanine-style balcony, where guests can be seated, order a drink from a smaller bar, and still have a great view of the stage below. We were #blessed to visit, and here’s what we thought.
The food at Amazing Grace
The food here is great: Northern Thai street food specialists Krapow are at the helm of Amazing Grace’s kitchen for the foreseeable future, cooking up a storm for patrons. Reading the menu details Thai basil chicken wings, Massaman curry, Thai fried chicken burger with Sriracha mayo – how sweet the(y) sound – and the food definitely lived up to how it sounded. Every dish is all about the flavour; each had a spicy kick, light enough to tempt you back for more, but strong enough that you could taste the depth of flavour. We started our visit with Thai prawn crackers. Pretty basic, right? Wrong. We were so surprised at how moreish and flavoursome this simple snack was, so we knew we were in for a treat with the rest of the dishes.
As we listened to the charismatic live singers (more on that later), we indulged in a series of plates from the Krapow kitchen. The spicy pumpkin fritters packed a punch, yet despite their crunch and heat, were still very fluffy and light. My favourite small plate was the chilli jam and Thai basil chicken wings though: the crunch on the coating was divine, the chicken itself very soft, and the flavour had just the right balance of sweet and spicy. I could have eaten a bucket of them. As for some other menu highlights: the aforementioned Thai fried chicken burger with Sriracha mayo (Gai Tod burger) is creamy and indulgent – and again, great crunchy coating; while the Khao Soi soup is like a hug in a bowl. It was so warming, which was very welcome at this time of year, and had so many different flavours that worked cohesively. The menu is little, but done oh so well.
Whether you’re seated (or standing) upstairs or downstairs, a bar is not too far away at Amazing Grace. With Havana emblazoned on the downstairs bar, you’ll be pleased to know a zingy rum punch is on the cocktail menu. However, despite rum being my spirit of choice, I’ve got to say that the East 8 Hold Up was particularly delightful too. The vodka and passionfruit mix was sweet, but not too much so, and I ordered a fair few of ’em… There are a range of cocktails, spirits and mixers, beer and wine available.
Tuesday to Friday each week, Amazing Grace have Holy Hour, a happy hour where most drinks are just £4–6! Praise be for those prices in London.
The live music at Amazing Grace
The acoustics at Amazing Grace are magnificent; unsurprising given its history as a church. The sound from the state-of-the-art sound system reverberates off of the high ceilings, while the bass is strong too. The venue takes pride in welcoming a range of talent and genres to their stage, and there is a diverse set of events. Throughout the week, there are reoccurring pillars like the R&B brunch and hip hop karaoke, while there are also one off events of alternative pop and soul. During our visit, we enjoyed soulful covers and original songs from emerging talent – the performers were impressive.
Overall, Amazing Grace is a pretty special venue. From its historical facade and interiors to its tasty Thai cuisine and drinks menu, it has a little of everything. Thanks to its enviable location, it makes for a great spot for a quick drink before catching your train, or a leisurely evening of food and drink as you listen to live music.