The River Cafe

Sunday afternoon in London (prior to BSP, yay) was spend in the sublime surroundings of River Cafe. Old boys Jamie and Hugh and fabulous, well used cookbooks have meant I was desperate to visit this restaurant come what may.

A good 30 minutes by tube, the River Cafe is well worth the trek out to Hammersmith and a pleasant (on a sunny day) walk along the river path. A bizarre walking experience begins through dodgy council estates and leads you to the sophisticated warehouse set up at the side of Lord Roger’s archiect’s practice.

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On the day we were there, outside tables were at a premium but in truth it was too hot to sit outside so we opted to stay indoors. Many of the outside diners came indoors because of the heat. JD had ‘issues’ with the clientele and felt they were upper class pretentious gits (she did have a point) and struggled to get past this. Like it or not, River Cafe is one of those places where it’s good to be ‘seen’ at.

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As it turned out, the staff were superb with some fabulous touches. They were very down to earth and really delivered on the service front – and of course, the food did not disappoint. It was one of the busiest restaurants we’ve ever dined in and there were absolutely no issues whatsoever with timing/service/quality. Outstanding.

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Chilli squid with rocket and lemon…wowser.

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Julie’s prosciutto and melon tasted like I had been imported from Valencia.

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We shared the secondi platter of spaghetti — amazing flavours. It’s not often that I could have ordered every dish on the menu – here it would have been dead easy.

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First grouse of the season roasted in the huge wood burning oven – although it comes in at a wallet busting £46 (just for a main course), I predictably have to say it was worth every penny and just the act of eating it made me feel like a member of the landed gentry if only for an hour.

Cheeses were especially good too – a selection of artisan sheep’s cheese pecorinos were in order and after indulging here, we actually couldn’t face a dessert (not even panna cotta) most unlike JD. Instead we opted for some coffee and a waddle back to the tube station with a spring in our step.

Pros – outstanding place for Sunday lunch, buzzing atmosphere, great service, amazing Italian food. Cons – schlep out from central London, pretentious crowd, not cheap (but good value if that makes sense).

Oh – and we saw Lulu and the guy who was one of the original judges on Pop Idol! Plus I thought I saw Naomi Campbell, which I accept was probably just wishful thinking.

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