Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A weekend eating in London (part 2)

The OXO Tower

Saturday morning we awoke to a overcast but dry day. Our afternoon lunch destination was the OXO Tower Brasserie. The big brownie point here was the OXO Tower has a riverside roof terrace! So a dry day was great news for us.

Even though we had not woken very hungry after our meal last night at Rhodes 24 we decided we would eat breakfast as lunch was not until two o'clock today which we purposely booked as our evening meal at Le Gavroche could not be taken till a whopping 10.30pm so careful planning of the day had to be made.

After having a nice day at Borough Market a bit of shopping and drinks at the Ice Bar
(more of which I will document later in the blog, as for now it's all about the food)
We made our way to the OXO Tower, a building with an interesting history.

Built at the end of the 19th century it was originally a power station for the post office then later bought by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, manufacturers of OXO beef stock cubes. They demolished most of the original power station leaving only the original front facade and was then used as a cold store, warehouse and distribution centre for their meat imports. The architect Albert More cleverley incorporated the OXO design in its windows of the tower as during the second world war there was a night time ban on skyline advertising and this was a ingenious way to get around this.

After the 1970's it had lain derelict until it had been purchased by the 'Coin street community builders'  and was given a new lease of life by the 90's. It has now been transformed into a multifunctional riverside landmark. The building is home to residential accommodation, shops, retail design studios, Galleries, cafes, bars & an exhibition space.
More importantly for us on this day a restaurant that is part of the Harvey Nichols empire!

Viewing the OXO Tower from Blackfriars bridge is quite impressive it's in a stunning location right on the river front. The rusty red coloured brick and white lintel building stood out amongst the Grey concrete and glass of its surrounding buildings and the roof terrace can clearly be seen under it's glass canopy and flourishes of greenery.  
OXO Tower from Blackfriars bridge

One look at that OXO logo immediately conjures up the image of a little black beefy salty cube that went into the gravy making of every British housewife.
Gravy to us Brits is the elixir of life it runs through our veins, So it seemed right and fitting we are going to eat here!

Getting into the OXO Tower was strange affair, as it's part residential you feel like your walking the halls and landings of a tower block, but once you reach the restaurant and bar area all that is forgotten as your jaw drops at the stunning view ahead of you.

There was slight  disappointment when we were seated at the back of the restaurant. Undeterred I requested another seat at the window. We were lead back to reception where we were told we could have a window seat when one became available this could be up to 45 mins. Not a problem we were more than happy to wait and even more delighted to wait on the terrace with a nice cocktail to take in the view.

It has to be said there is a very impressive selection of cocktails on the menu.
Rach and I both chose a Rhuby spritz, a Rhubarb based cocktail and it was beautiful.
As was the skyline of London ! again another incredible view from a roof terrace bar .
Now what's not to like about doing some sight seeing without leaving your seat with a cocktail in your hand ?
From here you can see St Paul's cathedral, Somerset house, and the most amazing stretch of the Thames and it's bridges.
In fact spending time out on the terrace seemed to go too quickly for our table was now ready.
P.S you can have a table for dining on the terrace but a pesky breeze had threatened to make the wine glasses dance on the tablecloths so it wasn't to be today.
Inside is very spacious due to the high ceilings and bright and airy helped by the Floor to ceiling glass windows that run the entire length of the restaurant. Minimalistic modern feel which is great when you fancy an informal setting. Atmosphere was buzzing. 
We particularly loved the live female vocalist and piano accompaniment that was playing whilst we ate.
 So on to the food porn ! this is what we ate.

Grilled Cornish squid, Flatbread, cherry tomato salad, lime mayonnaise, chilli corn salsa
Beetroot mozzarella pine nuts fine herb salad, roasted pumpkin.
Lamb two ways, roasted rump, shoulder stifado, fregola, feta hazelnut yogurt, lavosh.
Roasted Cornish cod, salt cod mash, marinated peppers,green olive tapenade.
Bitter chocolate tart, liquorice ice cream, honeycomb, raspberries.
Lemon vodka parfait, strawberries, poppy seed meringues.
As you can see from the pictures the food was vibrant and fresh and I can tell you very very tasty. Not bad for a Saturday lunch!
It was during the pause from mains to desert sitting there with a glorious view, slightly squiffy from the cocktail, a satisfied belly, and an extremely happy feeling to be here that I think I must have flat lined and gone to foodie heaven......................
Somewhere in the background i was aware of singing it was Frank Sinatra's "All of Me "  The arrival of desert was my defibrillation and BOOM, I was back in the room !

We left the OXO Tower very full and slightly worried for tonight. As tonight we dine at 
Le Gavroche a two Michelin star restaurant . Ooo get us! 
The Chef Cuisine is Michel Roux Jr. A man who's name makes young chefs quake in their freshly laundered whites.

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