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The River Cafe


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For some reason I've never fancied going to the The River Cafe partly due to the fact that it doesn't have a river view unless you stand on your table but the other half wanted to go and it was her turn to choose. I've since discovered that she has a long list of restaurants that SHE wants to visit never mind what I think!

Sunday lunchtime saw a full restaurant and we were fortunate enough to be seated slightly away from the hoards in a courtyard close to the Thames, covered by the trees. It was overcast and I wondered what they would have done if it rained, the terrace immediately outside the restaurant had a canopy that could be rolled down but what would have happed to the poor souls in the garden? This is seriously rich territory, restaurant guests who were obviously regulars kissing staff and saying "See you next Sunday, usual time!" to the waiting staff and calling them by their first names. Another couple argued over paying the bill and presented the waitress with two black Amex cards Another table of 8 swapped birthday gifts and drank vintage Krug. The sort of place that you're likely to be sitting next to Jude Law and Sienna Miller eating and reading the Sunday papers. Supremely casual and expensive at the same time, the sort of place I'd want around the corner from me except I wouldn't be able to afford to use it regularly.

The menu was as expensive as I had heard, Antipasto ranged from £12.50 for that bad Italian restaurant staple Prosciutto di Parma with Charentais Melon, and £15 for Vova di Gabbiano con Asparagi (soft boiled gull's egg with English Asparagus and Parmesan shavings. We settled on Carpaccio di Manzo at £14.50 - thinly sliced Longhorn beef crusted with thyme black pepper with red and golden beetroots, rocket and horseradish. Good quality beef, no hint of the thyme but a nicely balanced horseradish and perfectly cooked beetroots. Excellent.

For Pasta course Tagliatelle Verde (fresh spinach pasta with creme fraiche, lemon and rocket was a well balanced dish with good pasta but £12 for a relatively small portion did seem a little excessive. In comparison Ravioli con Granchio at £13 (handmade pasta stuffed with fresh Cornish crab, fennel herb, chilli, lemon and selapiana extra virgin olive oil) seemed a relative bargain considering the additional manual work required for the dish. It ate exactly as it read, beautiful.

Main courses had 4 fish and 3 meat choices ranging between £26 and £31. Branzino al forno (wood roasted wild sea bass with potatoes, cherry vine tomatoes, Taggiasche olives, basil and Vermentino was very good. Fantastic potatoes, waxy covered in olive oil, very sweet tomatoes and an excellent piece of sea bass. Very good but, in my opinion, surpassed by the Rombo al forno (wood roasted turbot tranche with summer savory & lemon with spinach mache and peas. What more is there to say? Exactly as the dish read but with the best piece of Turbot I have had in this country. A thick piece of fish still on the bone, perfectly cooked with a distinct woodiness provided by the oven. Completely fantastic and worth every penny of its £31 price tag.

Desserts were all £7 and struggling to choose we asked the waitress if we cold have a small selection of 3 different desserts - not a problem. Chocolate Nemesis looked a very heavy dessert but its colour and flavour belied the light texture, Lemon tart was a good example and Almond tart with strawberries was fantastic, all the desserts had a real home cooked feel to them we were charged for half slices at £3.50 each which made me wish that we had ordered the Hazelnut and Espresso cake with Vin Santo ice cream as well!

1 Espresso, and 2 cafe lattes finished of the meal and perked us up for the trudge home. Overall a fantastic meal. Simple well executed cooking reliant on high quality ingredients.. With a modestly priced bottle of white (£27.50) and two glasses of lager the bill came to a touch under £180 - an expensive but extremely satisfying Sunday lunch. Special mention to the staff who are extremely friendly and helpful, arriving at my table the waitress topped my glass up, I was little aghast that she thought I expected her to do this, it's more of a fill your own glass type of place and I told her not to worry. "No problem, I'm clearing the table as well but I'll sort the alcohol out first - that's the most important thing!"

Did I mention that Jude Law and Sienna Miller were sitting on a table next to ours :raz: ? Amazing what special effects can do these days, I couldn't believe how short, fat and obnoxious he was. Actually I might have exaggerated that a little, that last sentence should have read "I wish he was short fat and obnoxious" Unfortuanately (and I'm man enough to admit this) he is impossibly handsome and charming. Sienna ain't bad either. :wink:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 1 year later...

Rossini (Prosecco with Fresh strawberries) while browsing the menu, a jug of iced tap water was offered without asking which was a nice touch.

Shared Calamari ai Ferri, great tender squid which had been chargrilled served with some fresh rocket and red chilli. This made me realise how great Squid can be but it is such a fine line between cooked just so and over cooked, even by the end of the plate the last piece of Squid was starting to get a little rubbery.

Ravioli Fatte in casa was ravioli stuffed with ricotta, mascarpone and summer herbs and served with a Marjoram butter and grated pecorino. Again delicious, I could have eaten a main course portion of this. Tagliatelle Fatter in casa was served with a very generous portion of girolles and adorned simply with butter, parsley and once again pecorino. Pasta dishes at the River Café really shine, I'm not a big pasta fan but I've not had a dud pasta dish here yet (admittedly only 3 visits)

Pollo ai Ferri was "spatchcooked organic free range chicken with toasted tuscan bread salad, tomatoes, basil and red wine vinegar. Exactly as it said on the tin, perfectly cooked chicken although the skin could have done with a being a touch crispier. Excellent bread salad and great quality tomatoes.

Aragosta al forno - wood roasted split Dorset Blue lobster with fresh red chilli, marjoram & lemon, cannellini beans & marinated yellow peppers with basil. Good quality Lobster with lovely sweet flesh and one oddly oversized claw and one normal one. Beans were melting as you would expect but I just don't get yellow peppers at all.

Desserts are a strong point so after a quick negotiation we managed to secure a mixed dessert which came presented on a huge plate, Almond Tart with Raspberries was crisp and chewy. Pannacotta with Grappa and cherries should have come with a warning for those that had to drive home but I don't think I have tasted a better pannacotta. Grilled white peaches were OK but the peach wasn't perhaps sweet enough to begin with. Strawberry sorbet, Vanilla ice-cream (outstanding) and Caramel ice cream finished of the plate. Passers-by looked at our plate enviously, I bet they wished that they had thought to ask for a mixed dessert!

With a bottle of Terlaner Classico 2004 (£23) and Gavi di Gavi "Montessora" (£33) the bill came to £220. I never quite get the pricing here, undoubtedly everything is of excellent quality but every visit you find different menu items but Secondi are always priced between £27 and £30. Today the Chicken was £28 and the Lobster £30 which seems a little strange. Pastas are always between £12 and £14 and Antipasti average around £13.50. Overall though I'm not griping, another super meal.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 9 months later...

Another lovely Lunch at the River Café on Saturday, it's quickly become one of my favourite places for a summer lunch with the doors wide open or sitting on the terrace. Service was effortlessly friendly as always and they graciously offered us our first drinks on the house as they had cancelled our booking the previous weekend as they were closed.

Started with Bagna Cauda di Barolo con Asparagi (new season's asparagus with a warm Nebbiolo and anchovy sauce), the sauce felt a little underpowered but the Asparagus was top notch and that was really what mattered. The Ravioli at River Café is never disappointing this time stuffed with buffalo ricotta, nettles and River Café garden herbs. Another Secondi of Risotto al mare (with Langoustine, mussels, red mullet, John Dory and Fiano Donnaluna) was excellent spoilt only by the Rice being a touch overdone, not enough to ruin the well balanced fish flavour with a generous amount of fish it could have been the best risotto ever if it wasn't for the rice.

Salmon ai Ferri (chargrilled first of the season's wild salmon with chilli & parsley, violetta artichoke fritti and large leaf rocket), a great piece of fish, it was still a little pink in the middle but I think that it would have been nicer with a few seconds less cooking. Great deep-fried artichokes. Rambo al forno (Turbot Tranche wood roasted with lemon and mint with frittedda of peas, broad beans and violetta artichokes. Again beautiful fish with a less than beautiful looking accompaniment which tasted great - fresh and perky from the lemon and mint, sweet from the peas and broad beans, perfect for a summer day even though it was only April.

Once again we bravely asked for the whole dessert list to share, actually we asked them to leave the chocolate nemesis off it arrived anyway and we weren't charged for it so I won't complain. Standouts included pressed Chocolate cake with Vin Santo ice cream, the ice cream had taken on a caramel flavour which then led to s finish reminiscent of something Indian, unusual but excellent, Pannacotta boldly flavoured with grappa and Garigette strawberries was once again the best version I have tasted in this country, second only to one I had last year in Piedmont at Della Posta.

Accompanied by a La Giustiniana VignetiI Montessora Gavi di Gavi and a lovely Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca that took some time to open up, service at 12.5% and water the bill came to a not inconsiderable £236 but for some reason I always consider it money well spent at this particular venue. :smile:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Matthew, thank you for continuing these reports. I used to watch the ladies on TV and found their food captured me for its simplicity and quality of ingredients. They have defintely influenced the way I cook. I have them on my list to try the next time I'm in London.

ps Aren't you glad you listened to your other half? :raz:

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Rose Gray was working the pass last Saturday, I'm not sure how often she is there but seemed quite at home and the atmosphere amongst the staff seems great. Of course her attendance at the pass may have had something to do with Michael Winner at one table and AA Gill dining with his family and Jemima Khan at another. :hmmm:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had our annual birthday lunch here today....Rose Gray working the pass and as ever, excellent in many ways. Staff could not have been more relaxed with us despite being half an hour late due to crazy traffic from Essex.

Antipasti - grilled squid with chilli and rocket. The squid had been light blanched I think then just touched the grill so the fresh squid flavour came through the hint of charcoal. Chilli just enough to get the taste buds going. Bresaola with shaved parmesan - light, mild, great beef with good marballing and not the rubbery salami type you can get. Bagua Cauda of asparagus, baby beetroot, baby carrots, swiss chard and nebbiolo sauce that was subtle with the al dente warm vegetables.

Primi of a shared plate of six perfectly formed rotolo verde - spinach pasta stuffed with dried mushrooms and ricotta with fried sage leaves. Creamy, herby, earthy and light.

Secondi - tranche of meaty bright white Turbot with erbette (wild spinach) and broad beans dressed with light and fruity olive oil. Arrosta Misto of lamb chop, half a wood pigeon and a rabbit leg, cooked quickly in the wood oven with rosemary & olive oil, roast potatoes. Succulent, tasty, bone suckingly good. Finally, the best dish, first of the season wild salmon with castelluccio lentils baby tomatoes. When you have a piece of fish this good you wonder how the over farmed stuff ever got to market.

Dolci - a full selection of all the puddings. Perfectly balanced lemon tart, a pannacotta so excellently formed you wanted to pick it up and massage it with roast nespoli (apricots) and lots of vanilla. Chocolate nemisis which was light and moussy with a real hit of cocca. Strawberry & Almond tart which I found a little heavy/biscuity. Twoexcellent ice creams.

Wine - Educato Chardonnay from Grasso was as the waiter described - light without the butter notes but a hint of oak. Pieropan La Rocca - a wine I will take to my grave for its purity of flvaour, balance, color and craftmanship, and three glasses of different grappa. Bill for three with water and chilled, slick, spot on service £258.

A very contented sole.

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so it would seem we all love the river caf!

lovely lunch on sunday, despite the weather, will try and do it more justice later, marked contrast to theo randall on monday night which was just not in the same league, despite charging similar prices-high.

you don't win friends with salad

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…………gosh seems like the River Café has been visited by a fair few egulleters over the past week…….. :smile:

I must admit I always find Mathew G’s reviews and recommendation pretty spot on, and my visit to the River Café on Saturday further reinforces this. What a wonderful restaurant.

The location is just bizarre, not somewhere you would stumble upon or just happen to be passing. Nonetheless it was absolutely filled to the rafters when we arrived, a sure sign of its popularity. The buzz and atmosphere from the moment we walked in until we left was so vibrant. I have never been in a restaurant with such a good feel about it. It was strange because it seemed to move at such a fast pace, with waiters gliding between tight spaces, but at the same time felt so relaxed and warm. Unfortunately it was raining as I imagine sitting outside would be equally as good.

We sat at a table close to the pass, with a good view of what was going on. Bread was fantastic, soft white with a crunchy crust, served with some uber peppery olive oil, Tuscan I presume?

For anti pasti I had ‘Salumi Misto’, which consisted of Bresaola della Val Malenco, Finocchiona, coppa di parma & speck div al d’aosta. Some of the best salumi I have ever had, the Finocchiona was just a melt in the mouth fennel delight. This came with a delightful marinated whole artichoke.

My Father who was still on a high from visiting his old house in Ladbroke Grove 40 years on, chose a fantastic dish, Maiale Tonnato. Not sure of it’s origins but it was a beautiful dish of thinly sliced loin of roast pork with tuna mayonnaise, capers, anchovies, erbette & lemon. What he let me try was excellent, never thought tuna mayo and pork could taste so well together. He loved it and stated he never used to get food like this in The Elgin or Kensington Park .

We skipped Primi and went straight to Secondi.

I had seared calf’s liver with sage & prosciutto, baked borlotti di lamon, River Café spring leaves and mustard dressing. This is a dish I cook a great deal myself, albeit in varying formats, however I have to bow down to the superiority of this dish. Astounding cooking, my Father aptly described the liver like ‘eating silk’, he knows his food!! The beans were delicious and the leaves extremely fresh and well dressed. One of those dishes that you never wanted to end.

The old man had chargrilled, marinated butterflied leg of new season Yorkshire spring lamb, with salsa Verde, roast date tomatoes and Castelluccio with herbs. Taste wise this dish was fantastic really full on flavours that made you glad to be alive, however the lamb was as tough as some of punters we seen in some of the aforementioned Ladbroke pubs. My Father only brought this to my attention half way through his meal; I brought it to the waiter’s attention right then. He explained it maybe because the lamb is so young that it may not have been at the right stage for cooking and hence its ‘sinewy texture’. I am not sure if this is the case, but he dealt with the complaint fantastically and said he would take it of the bill. I had to prompt my Father though that it may not be proper etiquette to then continue to finish of the remaining lamb on his plate.

Next a lovely cheese selection with special mention to a very soft and creamy ‘Robiola delle Langhe’

My Father who is a diabetic decided to have the ‘Stracciatella Ice cream’ thus was the quality of the food he decided to risk the prospect of a diabetic coma or death, the things people do for ice-cream. This was a fine example of excellent ingredients making an excellent dish. Simply a scoop of fresh light ice-cream, spiked with shards of delicious dark chocolate, just superb. I wish I would have asked what chocolate they used. Thankfully the old man survived but even he said after eating that he would have died a happy man,

The service in my opinion was faultless, we were treated extremely well, and in fact had a lot of fun with the delightful waitresses. Again special mention to the manager who dealt with the lamb scenario, a perfect way to deal with a complaint. I also noticed during service a table full of staff having a meal together, I thought that was a very inclusive thing to do.

So all in all one of the best eating experiences I have had this year, thank you for the recommendation Mathew and my Father says thank you too.

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'My Father who is a diabetic decided to have the ‘Stracciatella Ice cream’ thus was the quality of the food he decided to risk the prospect of a diabetic coma or death, the things people do for ice-cream. This was a fine example of excellent ingredients making an excellent dish. Simply a scoop of fresh light ice-cream, spiked with shards of delicious dark chocolate, just superb. I wish I would have asked what chocolate they used.'

.....Amadei....either 9 or Chuao....

,

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Bread was fantastic, soft white with a crunchy crust, served with some uber peppery olive oil,  Tuscan I presume?

I think that the oil might have been from Tenuta di Capezzana, west of Florence; we had it at Theo Randall recently and it's really distinctive, lightish in colour and and very peppery.

Having been to both River Cafe and Theo Randall, I disagree with the previous post about Theo Randall not being in the same league, by the way - a Monday lunch there a few weeks ago was spot on, amazing value, and you don't need a compass and helicopter back-up to venture down to Hyde Park Corner.

We had:

bruschetta with that amazing oil;

extremely fresh crabmeat with aioli and green salad;

ravioli stuffed stuffed with chopped greens and served with a lovely buttery sauce;

chargrilled squid with beans and chilli;

tart filled with an amazing lemon custard.

The only fault we could find was that the pastry of the tart was a little underdone.

I didn't see the bill, but I think that it was about £22 a head for the food (sharing the lemon tart between two), which I guess from the posts above is about 35% of what it would have been at the River Cafe and just as good. It would be a lot more expensive in the evening, of course, but not quite in the River Cafe price league even then.

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I agree about there not being not much difference between Theo Randall and River Cafe in terms of food and not sure why there should be given Theo Randall. I was lucky enough to go to Liberty Wines 10 year aniversary tasting and lunch last month at Theo Randall and had a faultless meal - baring in mind he fed 120 guests in one go who had the choice of four starters, four main courses and four puddings. The price is different though as I believe Theo Randall does a lunch deal.

The oil could have been I Canonici, Tarvenelle Val di Pesa which is bottled under River Cafe label and available from Liberty Wines along with the Capezzana mentioned below.

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Although years seperated my meals at River Cafe and Theo Randall (well, I'm not made of bloody money), I would agree that the cooking at TR is in no way inferior to RC, perhaps because Randall cooked both meals!

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The oil could have been I Canonici, Tarvenelle Val di Pesa which is bottled under River Cafe label and available from Liberty Wines along with the Capezzana mentioned below.

The Capezzana is also under the River Cafe label (in Sainsburys, or used to be), as well as under its own label from Liberty as you say.

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It would be a lot more expensive in the evening, of course, but not quite in the River Cafe price league even then.

Prices were similar at both but if anything TR worked out more expensive per head.

£210 for 2/4 (4 starters, 4 pasta, 4 main, 1 desert, 1 cafe, 4 limoncello, 4 house apero, 3 wine incl. service.) As i said not a bad meal but not a great one for £105 per head and that was shared by the non- RC'ers present.

Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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It would be a lot more expensive in the evening, of course, but not quite in the River Cafe price league even then.

Prices were similar at both but if anything TR worked out more expensive per head.

£210 for 2/4 (4 starters, 4 pasta, 4 main, 1 desert, 1 cafe, 4 limoncello, 4 house apero, 3 wine incl. service.) As i said not a bad meal but not a great one for £105 per head and that was shared by the non- RC'ers present.

Ok, I'd stick to lunch, which according to his website is £18 for 2 courses, £23 for three. Puddings are £4.50 each.

RC doesn't do a set lunch, does it?

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Ok, I'd stick to lunch, which according to his website is £18 for 2 courses, £23 for three.  Puddings are £4.50 each.

RC doesn't do a set lunch, does it?

I doubt it, TR set lunch looks remarkable value compared to the ALC tho.

you don't win friends with salad

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snip

Dolci - a full selection of all the puddings. Perfectly balanced lemon tart, a pannacotta so excellently formed you wanted to pick it up and massage it with roast nespoli (apricots) and lots of vanilla. Chocolate nemisis which was light and moussy with a real hit of cocca. Strawberry & Almond tart which I found a little heavy/biscuity. Twoexcellent ice creams.

Wine - Educato Chardonnay from Grasso was as the waiter described - light without the butter notes but a hint of oak. Pieropan La Rocca - a wine I will take to my grave for its purity of flvaour, balance, color and craftmanship, and three glasses of different grappa. Bill for three with water and chilled, slick, spot on service £258.

A very contented sole.

I like Pieropan's wines a lot -- I have not la Rocca, but the other single vineyard Soave, Calvarino, in my cellar. (plus a bunch of his regular bottling which is a great QPR).

Nespole aren't apricots but something else -- pedantic discussion here

The River Cafe aren't that good at Italian though --( mazzancolle are langoustine apparently?) so they might have been apricots.

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I like Pieropan's wines a lot -- I have not la Rocca, but the other single vineyard Soave, Calvarino, in my cellar. (plus a bunch of his regular bottling which is a great QPR).

Nespole aren't apricots but something else -- pedantic discussion here

The River Cafe aren't that good at Italian though --( mazzancolle are langoustine apparently?) so they might have been apricots.

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Ok, I'd stick to lunch, which according to his website is £18 for 2 courses, £23 for three.  Puddings are £4.50 each.

RC doesn't do a set lunch, does it?

I doubt it, TR set lunch looks remarkable value compared to the ALC tho.

I have eaten at theo randalls a couple of times now as much as i love The River cafe it is just so much more conveniently located for me. Last time we ate off the set lunch menu which really is ridiculously good value at £18. I had a tagliatelle with Asparagus, lemon and creme fraiche and then Monkfish (roasted?) which was beautiful and worth the £18 alone. My Guests both had a ravioli filled with rabbit and then the steak which they proclaimed similarly good. I really don't think i could separate it from the River Cafe in terms of quality so have no quibbles in paying the full alc prices.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I have just come back from Covent Garden this morning with a box of Italian apricots and 'loquats' - apricot like but more oval shapped and need cooking. Will look at the topic you highlighted once I have had some sleep but nobody seemed to know of 'nespole' - Paris express, l'orto di sorrento or mercato.

loquats in english are nespole in italian and nisperos in spanish.

btw, they don't need cooking...if they do then they are not ripe. don't hold your breath with NCG suppliers.

-che

PS - RDB i'm glad you liked the finocchiona! we source it for them...

Edited by CheGuevara (log)
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PS - RDB i'm glad you liked the finocchiona! we source it for them

........it was fantastic Che, the best I have ever tasted. I would be interested to know where you sourced it from. Obviously if this info is top secret PM me, we wouldn't want every one knowing now, would we... :wink:

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PS - RDB i'm glad you liked the finocchiona! we source it for them

........it was fantastic Che, the best I have ever tasted. I would be interested to know where you sourced it from. Obviously if this info is top secret PM me, we wouldn't want every one knowing now, would we... :wink:

we source it from one of our Tuscan suppliers - la toscana in tavola. not all their charcuterie is as good, some things are fantastic, others are simply good for Italian standards. if you ever crave it, you can always buy it from us, we even slice it for you!

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  • 2 months later...

Is there a nicer place to have a Sunday lunch in London than under the trees next to the small garden at The River Café? I doubt it and if there is I doubt that it has anywhere near the standard of ingredients.

6 large plump Scottish langoustines, split and cooked in the wood roasted oven came with wild oregano, chilli, lemon and olvie oil. Fantastic langoustines, really good quality and relatively good value (£14.50 for a solitary Langoustine - hang your head in shame Barrafina). Simplicity and perfection on a plate that had me digging the last of the meat from every claw and I now have hands full of holes for my troubles.

The Ravioli was perhaps cooked a few seconds too long but certainly not enough to spoil the stuffing made with River Café herbs and buffalo ricotta with golden marjoram butter and pecorino stagionato. Rachel took a second antipasti, a really good salad of summer leaves and flowers with raw yellow and green courgettes, toasted pine nuts and parmesan. The courgettes were beautiful, small and thinly shaved they really shone in the dish.

I nearly wilted and ordered the Turbot again but called the waiter back and ordered the chargrilled leg of lamb instead, 4 decent chunks of leg marinated in garlic and rosemary and cooked medium with a nice charred outside. A salsa rosso piccante added a nice spicy bite. Red, golden and stripy beets and Italian spinach completed the ensemble. Rachel had tagliatelle with Scottish girolles, garlic, fresh tomato, parsley and parmesan.

Finished with Pannacotta with fresh raspberries and grappa, and Almond , Lemon and ricotta cake. Asked for half portions of the caramel ice cream and blackberry sorbet and were given scoops with each dessert for no extra charge. The Pannacotta wasn’t quite as wobbly as it has been in the past but is still the best I have tasted in the UK, the raspberries were a little hit and miss. Ice creams and sorbets at the RC are always a strong point IMO.

Overall another great meal defined by simple cooking and great ingredients, made all the nicer by the charming staff and the beautiful weather. :smile:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 2 months later...

Doesn't anybody else eat here?

Another smashing lunch at The River Café, my first outside of Spring/Summer and it would appear that it is even more popular once the weather gets a little cooler.

Carne Crudo di vitello was perhaps a touch too cold but still very good, simply adorned with lemon, mache salad and parmesan shavings, really good quality parmesan

A plate of Prosciutto di Parma was a generous plate (as was the veal) served with shaved fennel and more of that parmesan. I thought the prosciutto was exceptional quality, possibly the best I have had. Seared Scottish scallops came with soft polenta butter and parmesan, I thought the polenta could have done with a little more seasoning or parmesan. The Scallops were topped with a lttle chopped chilli which was both sweet and hot and worked nicely with the Scallops.

super zuppa followed – Zuppa di Pane, Tuscan bread soup with potato, chard, borlotti beans and chicken stock – the line between soup and vegetable stew must be a fine one, beautiful autumnal food, a real hearty dish. Yorkshire Grouse stuffed with thyme and sage, wood roasted in Collemattoni Brunello 2002 came out as a whole bird which I think caught a few people by surprise. This was a real manly dish, the smell of the thyme and sage snuck through alongside the powerful grouse, alongside you may have expected something light to balance it out but a large quantity of wild mushroom Bruschetta made for another great autumn dish.

Deserts, as usual, were fabulous, Torta di Capri, sensational Pannacotta, caramel ice cream and a lovely pear and almond tart.

I was half hoping that the River Café wouldn’t be as good outside of the summer months, unfortunately it was possibly even more appealing and I can see another couple of dents in my wallet in the near future.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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