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The River Cafe


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  • 4 months later...

A good, if not top notch meal here on Sunday. Mixed Salumi was spoilt a Little by one of the hams being quite dry having, presumably, been left lying around, more successful was a flaky pastry topped with ricotta, olives, onions and other things which escape me at the moment. Tagliatelle with Langoustine, Lobster, Scallops and clams was very good, perfectly cooked pasta with lots of small pieces of the aforementioned shellfish, finished with tomato and ginger. The Ravioli was porcine and spinach but was entirely lacking in mushroom flavour and the pasta was overcooked, v.disappointing.

Grilled sirloin was very nicely cooked but the meat itself (Aberdeen Angus) was lacking in flavour, a surprising lapse in quality of ingredients. The Turbot (I really need to stop ordering it) was excellent as always, I was mindful that others have complained about this dish and I have seen some unfortunate people get the thin end of the fish but a request for a Tranche form the middle of the fish was met without question and once again a thick piece of fish beautifully cooked appeared on my plate. .

Desserts were a delight as always even if the Pannacotta wasn't quite as wobbly as it can blood orange sorbet and a Almond ad Rhubarb tart were excellent as was another dessert which I forget (mainly because my other half waded through most of it before I had time to taste it properly.

So a good meal with great friendly service and a couple of dud dishes. Still a great place to be.

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

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An enjoyable lunch here yesterday, started with the crab spaghetti - good but little of the advertsied chilli (or fennel tops for that matter) My friend had the scallops with chickpeas which looked great. Follwed by the turbot - i had a piece from near the tail but it was plenty big enough for me and very tasty. My freind had monkfish with fritto misto in a chilli and mint sauce - very generously portioned and delicious as well. Cheese was ok - i found them a little "blah" nothing majorly interesting though - and it just came with ciappe - am sure it used to be served with walnuts/grapes etc? We shard a chocolate nemesis and some caramel ice cream to follow which were perfection. Some very good wine (2 aperitivos, £30 bottle of collio and a glass each of sweet red and sweet white for cheese and dessert) saw the bill pushed up to £220 but whilst as in Matthews experience it wasn't perfect, it was another enjoyable meal there all the same.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

Hi,

I went to The Rive Café this week.

It's been closed quite a while due to fire - explaining the long silence on this topic - and only reopened a few weeks ago.

The meal started slow, but really picked up, ending on a top note.

I enjoyed an excellent Dover Sole and tasty Grouse especially and so strongly recommend any dishes from the oven.

There was also a great selection of delicious desserts.

Bon appetito! - The River Café Review

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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  • 2 months later...

Here's an excerpt from my blog post about a recent meal at The River Cafe. You can read the rest of it at the ulterior epicure.

Overall, the food at The River Café was a less hearty and robust than I had imagined. There was a refinement and finesse – like the subtle use of herbs and acid – that I wasn’t quite expecting; it was all quite thoughtful. Of course, I’m not surprised by it either. To borrow a bit of my dear Austen’s genius, The River Café was more sensibility then sense.

The most important take-away from this dinner for me was a reminder that high ingredient quality requires little manipulation in order to be great.

The River Café has maintained its one Michelin star since 1998. I received word today that it has retained its status for another year (2009).  I think it’s a well-deserved acknowledgment of this restaurant’s achievement and continued dedication to its craft.

I cannot fathom what the state of British “agricuisine” was like in the 1980’s when this restaurant opened. I can hardly fathom the state of the British “agricuisine” now outside of the better eateries in the country. I have heard horror stories.

Rose Gray and Judy Rodgers did something wonderful for the British food and restaurant industry in opening The River Café. They helped changed the landscape of the British palate (with, of all things, Italian cuisine). And their legacy has spread into many other kitchens in their country and abroad.

Though there is paper on the tables, this is no home-spun enterprise any more.  Like St. John, Chez Panisse, and other “cute, rustic” eateries backed by now-celebrated chefs, The River Cafe has been branded and packaged.  The little cottage industry by the wharf has spawned paraphernalia, like myriad of cookbooks, t-shirts, logo-etched sugar packets, and their own bottled olive oil.

But I can I can overlook all of that glitz because, at the heart of it all, there is a living, breathing purpose to The River Cafe that touched this diner.

After a week of binging on bijou food, The River Café’s simple and honest cooking reset my palate, and provided an emotionally lovely note on which to leave London.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Here's an excerpt from my blog post about a recent meal at The River Cafe.  ...
...

Rose Gray and Judy Rodgers did something wonderful for the British food and restaurant industry in opening The River Café. ...

Wrong café ! :wink:

Judy Rodgers, Zuni, San Francisco. Ruth(ie) Rogers, River, London.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Here's an excerpt from my blog post about a recent meal at The River Cafe.  ...
...

Rose Gray and Judy Rodgers did something wonderful for the British food and restaurant industry in opening The River Café. ...

Wrong café ! :wink:

Judy Rodgers, Zuni, San Francisco. Ruth(ie) Rogers, River, London.

Good for nothing copy-editors! :hmmm:

Terribly embarrassed. I'm sure Ruth Rogers wouldn't appreciate me giving away her husband, Richard, to Judy Rodgers in my blogpost! :blush:

Yes, yes, move along, nothing to see here. Momentary crossing of the wires in the gray matter upstairs. It's been corrected on the blog. Thanks!!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is my take on the meal shared with Ulterior Epicure.

For the full post and photographs: Dinner at the River Café

This is a snippet:

"The food too was excellent. We had twenty-one items off the menu (wow, that many?! pride and shame are awfully hard to tell apart) and, not only was the execution on each and every one faultless, but we enjoyed eating them all. The antipasti were full of flavour; the pasta, delicate and tasty; the mains, hearty; and the formaggi, dolci e gelati, all yummy. For me, the fritto misto, spaghetti, cape sante, rombo and chestnut sorbet were highlights.

At the River Café, I always know what to expect - the freshest, choicest ingredients that have been cooked simply and taste great - and it has never failed to deliver. In the middle of December, our plates were awash with colour and filled with flavour. Seasonality and quality are at the centre of the restaurant’s cooking and it shows. The River Café refuses to use any produce that is not of the highest standard, it also refuses to serve anything but the best bits of those items that have managed to even make it into the kitchen - for example, only the thicker, more succulent centre fillets of fish are used, the rest disregarded. Such practices explain the higher prices, but the result is patent on one’s plate. Quality costs, and personally, I am glad to pay for it."

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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  • 1 year later...

Just found out that this place has a set lunch menu for £32 running until 31st March. I've never been aware before that this place has ever had a set lunch menu, maybe they have and I did not find out. The dishes are similar to the a la carte, maybe smaller portions ? Definitely giving it a go.

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We had the winter luncheon here last week. It was amazing and good value. The restaurant was packed for a Monday. We had two courses and a pudding for 24 GBP. The portions were good sized and we were happy we didn't go for the full meal deal, although the pastas looked great. I have loved my River Cafe Cookbook since my friend brought it back for me 12 years ago. Its not a pretentious place, just straightforward excellent cooking. My puntarelle rivaled anything I had eaten in Rome. Can't wait to go back - maybe this spring.

I have a relatively uninteresting life unless you like travel and food. Read more about it here.

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We had the winter luncheon here last week. It was amazing and good value. The restaurant was packed for a Monday. We had two courses and a pudding for 24 GBP. The portions were good sized and we were happy we didn't go for the full meal deal, although the pastas looked great.

Lalala,

Thanks for your report, it sounds very promising, I have booked.

I live near this place but the a la carte prices mean that visits here are infrequent.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sad news of Rose Grays death yesterday. I hope the River Cafe will continue, it is a fine testament to her legacy.

In tribute I will be whipping up a "Pear, honey and polenta cake" from her "Green" book for tonight's dessert.

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