When I think of my lunch at The River Cafe, I recall booking a sneaky afternoon off work, strolling along the river on a sunny March day, sitting in a bright, modern restaurant and sailing through four fantastic courses with good wine and great chat. In a nutshell, I was as happy as an Easter bunny on an egg hunt.
Although I’d always longed to go, the rather pricey menu and the fact that it’s on the other side of London meant it had always been always pipped to the post. Until I noticed the Winter lunch menu that is; I’m a sucker for a good deal and at £39 for 4 courses how could I resist?
The restaurant was exactly as I’d hoped; a bright open space with a relaxed chirpy feel, whilst still retaining that element of formality that you need in order to feel like you’re out for a treat.
Things got off to an excellent start with a blood orange prosecco. It was wondrous. I have every intention of refusing to let any other drink pass my lips when the sunshine finally arrives in England. The perfect aperitif.
The dishes were a mixture of careful, solid cooking and creative combinations and textures. The mozzarella was a wonderful surprise. I expected a cold fresh dish yet my mouth was filled with warm creamy flavours and a well placed crunch. The agretti was a marvellous touch as it is only in season for a couple of weeks each year. Lucky me!
The pasta dishes were another highlight. Perfectly cooked, firm, light pasta with flavours that didn’t overpower. When I ordered the rabbit, I imagined a rich ragu but in fact it was a light, spring dish. Ideal as one of four courses.
By the time we got to pudding, I wasn’t sure I could manage one but no sooner had I taken a spoonful of the pear and almond tart than the whole thing had disappeared. Light, crisp, sweet, delicious.
There is not a single thing that I would change about our meal. Each course was delicious and the service was fantastic. I can’t wait to go back and I’m sure it won’t be long before I do, deal or no deal. A very solid 9/10.
Prosecco with fresh Blood Orange
Calamari ai ferri
chargrilled squid with fresh chilli and rocket
Mozzarella di Bufala
with agretti, slow cooked tomato and pangrattato
Farfalle con Coniglio
rabbit slow cooked in Frinlano with pancetta, rosemary and sage
Panzotti ai Funghi
handmade pasta stuffed with dried porcini, italian spinach, mascarpone and parmesan
Capesante in padella
Scottish scallops seared with sage, chilli & red wine vinegar with cicoria and polenta
Coscia d’Agnello ai ferri
chargrilled marinated leg of lamb with salsa Rosa Piccante, chickpeas and cima di rape
Stracciatella Ice Cream
Pear & Almond Tart