River Cafe


River Cafe
Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

My only knowledge of the River cafe was that it was where Jamie Oliver served his apprenticeship so I was very excited to be taken there by Mrs Chips’ catering company. They are so nice they even laid on a car to take us all up to London and back.
It was a cold windy evening by the Thames so the buzzy atmosphere inside was most welcoming. We stood at the long mirrored bar having a drink whilst waiting for out table. I caught some glimpses up towards the seating area where there was a large projected clock and an open oven in the wall.
Over talks and drinks I surveyed the menu and decided to go for the Insalata dal Mercato di Milano which is a mixture of sweet and bitter winter leaves that they bring in every week from Milan market. I decided to follow that with turbot as I have taken a liking to fish recently and my mother said that turbot was her favourite.
We were taken to our table which had a good view into the kitchen although the chefs work behind a long serving bar so you can see what goes on as we dived into some tasty Italian bread with virgin olive oil.
My salad was delicious with its balsamic vinegar and selvapiana 2007 extra virgin olive oil dressing and left me looking forward to the main course. The others had split roasted Scottish langoustines stuffed with garlic and parsley and I tried some and they were fresh and succulent.
My turbot was wood roasted with lemon and marjoram with slow cooked fennel and Italian spinach and it was a great combination of tastes. The fennel goes so well with the turbot and the spinach is such a no nonsense accompaniment. There were no heavy creamy sauces that one gets so often in smart restaurants. It simply wasn’t needed. Although we did need some fruity yet light pinot noir red wine and lashings of tap water.
I had a cleansing lemon tart for pudding and the others had pannacotta with grappa and champagne rhubarb. That’s a type of rhubarb, by the way.
We had a tasty cheese board with some wonderful dolcelatte among other offerings. I looked around and realised that we were the last in the restaurant. I have to say that it was the best food and best ambiance I have ever enjoyed. All the waiters and waitresses were delightful and were happy to answer all our questions and seemed very satisfied with their jobs and this made for an excellent evenings entertainment so I can heartily recommend this cafe by the river. The prices are reasonable – £27 – £30 for a main course. A definite 5 star rating.

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