Features Director Andrea Thompson visits London’s ultimate riverside brasserie with a view, The Oxo Tower.
Once upon a time, before The Shard, Heron Tower and Paramount, there was only one credible restaurant with a view in London – Oxo. Today, competition is stiff, but Oxo is holding its own with reliably good food and one of the best riverside settings around. If like us, you prefer your dining environment lively rather than formal, skip the Oxo restaurant and had for the more laid back brasserie instead. The quality of the food is just as good with a slightly more experimental global slant. The open plan kitchen and beautiful glass frontage with floor to ceiling windows also means it’s flooded with light and pleasantly buzzing if you’re after an uplifting post work cocktail or dinner.
Whatever your tastes, you’re spoilt for choice here by the sheer variety of the menu. Fish and meat lovers will be delighted by the number of fresh seasonal offerings and different cooking styles from Mediterranean to Asian-inspired dishes, while there is a whole separate menu devoted to vegetarians and vegans.
We started with the waiter’s recommendation of jumbo-fried soft shell crab, teamed with a rich kimchi slaw, fresh watercress, pickled ginger salad, and citrusy ponzu sauce. It was a delicious balance of flavours and (we do not say this lightly) every bit as good as the Nobu version. The other starter, a little more Spanish in theme, was a nice contrast and perfectly executed – grilled tiger prawns, scorched baby gem, a mouth-watering smoked chili aioli, and pepper salsa. Delicious.
There was a tempting selection of meat main courses but were too swayed by the gorgeous looking seabass and the black peppered tuna that arrived on our neighbouring table and followed suit. The sea bass arrived in a rich brown shrimp butter with a nutty spinach purée and a delicious Jersey Royal broad bean salad. The perfectly cooked black peppered tuna was served slightly rare with goat’s curd, English asparagus and a moreish, black olive tapenade and sauce vierge. It was a pretty and varied combination of Mediterranean and Asian flavours but it totally paid off.
We went slightly experimental on the deserts with the surprisingly light thyme pannacotta with strawberry balsamic tapioca and butter biscuit plus the green tea cake, with yuzu curd and kaffir lime leaf ice cream. It’s rare to find such a variety of flavours on a dessert menu or indeed a menu full stop. We were not disappointed by either.
Whether you’re after a mid-week pick-me-up or a special occasion dinner with folks from out of town, you’d be hard pressed to beat Oxo for view, food quality or atmosphere. The service is faultless but friendly and they even do afternoon tea –with cocktails. What’s not to like.
Two courses with house wine approx £55 per head.
Please call the Oxo Tower reservations team on 020 7803 3888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and bookings.