BY CHARLIE STONG
When Samuel Johnson uttered his immortal words ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’, he wasn’t sitting in the OXO Tower Restaurant, overlooking the spectacular views of the City – but if he was, he would most certainly would have approved.
You see no matter how many times you marvel at the wonderful vista from London’s South Bank, you cannot possibly get tired of it. And it was, once again, this spectacular sight that my wife Hayley and I enjoyed as we tucked into a fabulous three-course meal at one of the capital’s best-loved restaurants, at OXO Tower Wharf.
We had enjoyed a fantastic brunch at the OXO Tower’s brasserie next door a few months earlier and, after enjoying it so much, decided to return for a slap-up dinner.
Harvey Nichols chose the spectacular location for its first standalone restaurant.
The OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie opened in September 1996.
The OXO Tower Wharf, originally built as a power station for the GPO, has housed many businesses over the years, but most notably it was home to the OXO cube in the 1930s.
The landmark tower, which ‘subtly’ advertised the product in its art deco windows, was built to avoid an advertising ban imposed by the LCC.
Occupying 12,500ft, the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie is situated on the eighth floor of the OXO Tower.
We arrived early so we could have a drink in the restaurant’s bar before taking our seats.
Being a Saturday night the place was packed, but comfortable, and we were treated with superb service all night.
One of the things I love about this place is that although it is undoubtedly a posh restaurant, it has no airs and graces.
It’s not the type of place you need to worry about spilling your peas on the floor – not that we did, of course – in fact to be on the safe side we steered clear of peas altogether.
What we did have were two fantastic starters, Severn and Wye smoked salmon, spinach purée, purple potato blinis, keta and samphire (£14) for me, and the vegetarian option of mushroom risotto ball, sautéed ceps, quince aioli (£13) for Hayley.
For main I also went for fish – halibut, mussel chowder, smoked bacon, buttered spinach (£28), while Hayley tucked into the stuffed loin of lamb, truffle gnocchi, pickled girolles, chestnut purée (£33).
And for dessert, carrot and hazelnut cake, mascarpone cream (£9) for Hayley, and coconut and orange cake with a coconut sorbet (£9) for me, all washed down with a bottle of the house white Muscadet de Sévre et Maine sur lie, Clos Allées, Loire, France, 2014 (£36).
Children are more than welcome – although we left our little one with her auntie and uncle for the night, and live music is often performed at the next-door brasserie.
Blackfriars, Waterloo and Southwark Tube stations are all about a 10-minute walk away.
OK, so the OXO Tower restaurant is not the sort of place most of us can afford to eat at every Saturday night, but for a special occasion you really will be hard pressed to find a more relaxing atmosphere with superb views of the City.
For more see www.oxotowerrestaurant.com