Review of 'OXO Tower Restaurant'

Let's face it, the real reason that everyone want's to visit this restaurant is for the view. To be honest, it really is a fantastic view from the 8th floor of the Oxo Tower – The Thames stretches alongside with views across Blackfriar's Bridge to St. Paul's all the way along to Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House. Visiting in an early winter evening, as we did, was ideal in that it was already dark so the lights of the city were all around us and we were able to secure a seat beside the window.

Of course, one thing that is also talked about regarding Oxo Tower Restaurant is the prices and they truly are incredible with starters in the £20 range and main courses running at about £30-35. To be honest, visiting here, you accept that it is going to be expensive and try to give up worrying about it. For us it was our first wedding anniversary so price was not something that came into it - We wanted a special treat for ourselves. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself…Of course, my wife only suspected where we were going as we walked across Blackfriar's bridge - It is kind of obvious from there.

Anyway, when we arrived, we were greeted in the contemporary interior where our coats were taken away and we were shown to a table in the tiny restaurant bar (there is another, much larger, bar on the other side of the building where the far less expensive brasserie is located). The large but not excessive wine list was quite impressive but not being a drinker we were also pleased to find a few non-alcoholic items on the menu so I had a Agavita Reviver (£6.50) which was quite light and my wife had a Very Berry Crush (£6.50 also) that was a much fuller berry flavour that she found a bit too acidic so we ended up switching…

A short time later we were shown to our table right up against the window in the middle of the restaurant - The best seat in the house. To be honest, sitting inside the view is slightly spoiled by the small terrace outside the window. Of course, this time of year (5 Celsius when we visited) we were not really all that keen on being outside so could not really complain at all.

The service was impeccable - Subtle and friendly at all times. We were greeted shortly after sitting with some wonderful bread - Three sourdoughs including a potato/rosemary which was wonderfully light and tasty.

The menu was on two short pages with the starters largely consisting of seafood so I took advantage of this by ordering the “Lobster tempura, consommé, daikon and wasabi salad, crisp vegetables” (£19.50) which was some good sized pieces of lobster tempura ingeniously sitting on top of two pieces of lobster shell above the light consommé with the side salad with more large pieces of lobster on top. The lobster was very flavourful and cooked perfected with a firm texture. My wife ordered the “Sweet potato waffle, goat cheese mousse, roast baby beetroot, truffle honey and rosemary dressing” (£13.50) which she very much enjoyed though suggested I would not with the strong flavour of goats cheese. She found it fresh and sweet but with the sharpness of the cheese made it even more fresh.

For the mains I could not pass up on the “Venison, spiced pumpkin purée, trompette mushrooms, carrots and chestnuts, coco nib sauce” (£29.50) which they (their chef) recommended be served as medium rare (perfect, in my opinion, and very good they encourage their patrons to have cooked correctly). Interestingly they also told me that it would look as if it was cooked longer under the pervasive blue lighting throughout the interior of the restaurant. The venison was absolutely amazing and I was again surprised by the size of the portion with several large pieces on top of a bed of the pumpkin and an amazing coco jus. My wife had the “Whole lemon sole, warm violet potato and truffle salad, brown shrimp and cucumber butter sauce” (£30) which was cooked perfectly with the only complaint (which was hardly a complaint but to be expected) being that she ended up with a few bones.

For dessert I could not resist the chocolate plate (£8) which was four different, small, chocolate delights - Highlights being a wonderfully rich, firm, chocolate fondant and a white chocolate cake. My wife's quince tart tartin (£8) she also enjoyed never having tried quince previously.

We were surprised when a few minutes later we were presented with a plate with “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate on it with a wonderful scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. My wife was also delighted to be presented with a small box of chocolates/petite fours with “1” written on the top of one. It is this attention to detail and effort to make the evening special that really made it that for us.

The bad news is that even drinking sparkling water and no alcohol that our bill came to almost £150. But on the other side we had an evening that we will never forget. Ignore the prices and go when you are looking for both good food and a wonderful experience.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2011-12-20

Cuisine: French

Address: Oxo Tower Wharf, Southbank, London SE1 9PH ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Temple

Location: London (England) - Southwark



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7803 3888