Saturday, July 13, 2013
The River Cafe in London
Sitting along the Thames near the Hammersmith Underground stop The River Cafe transports one to an airy, natural setting to enjoy incredibly delicious Italian-influenced offerings. We arrived for lunch which started at 12:30 PM.
The decor is bright and contemporary and full of windows to allow light to grace the dining area. The River Cafe also offers patio tables. Since it was sunny and the trees had not leafed out enough to provide shade on the patio, we chose a table inside seated by a floor to ceiling window.
This was our last lunch in London so we splurged a bit and began with a Telefonino cocktail. A refreshing concoction containing Zucca Rabarbaro, Campari, Punt e Mes, Lemon, and Fever Tree Tonic.
In keeping with the Italian them we ordered a bottle of Dolcetta D'Alba to accompany lunch.
For our Antipasti we splurged again and shared a plate of Mazzancolle ai Ferri - split and chargrilled Scottish langoustines with fennel, sea salt, and olive oil. We were expecting something small. We were surprised and pleased to receive a generous portion, although we could have easily begged for more. These little lobsters were the very best plate of food we enjoyed in the UK. The wood fired oven grilled them to perfection and they tasted so succulently sweet that we were exclaiming our delight with every bite. But beware, the knobby spines can be sharp and while cracking the claws open to get at every luscious bite, blood was drawn.
For our second course we made selections from the Primi section of the menu. Hubby kept with the seafood theme and ordered Spaghetti alle Vongole with clams, chilli, parsley, garlic and Fiano di Avellino (an Italian white wine). Tasty clams with just the right seasoning. I opted for a meat-free Tagliatelle al Limone - with Amalfi lemon, chopped rocket, creme fraiche, and Parmesan. Subtle lemon flavor paired with the pungency of the rocket (arugula). The creme fraiche contributed to the richness of the dish. Simple, true, but the quality of the ingredients and the execution of the kitchen turned simple into extraordinary.
We could not resist getting dessert. The River Cafe features several ice creams. I had scoops of pistachio and chocolate. Yummy. Hubby went one step further and had an Affogato with Whiskey. All hail to the Brits.
The River Cafe was a great experience. It was expensive, but worth the splurge for us. The menu can change daily. While there were no issues with us walking to and from the Hammersmith Underground during the day along the Thames Path, the restaurant cautions walking at night.