Eat Here: The River Restaurant by Gordon RamsayBy Iona Goulder
Despite The Thames taking up some 50 miles of the UK’s capital city, us Londoners are surprisingly short of upmarket riverside eateries. There are, of course, the classics; The Oxo Tower and River Cafe are still failsafe dining spots for those balmy evenings where we find ourselves flocking to the banks of the river. But, hoping to change this, is a new and brilliantly decadent restaurant inside the iconic Savoy Hotel.
The River Restaurant: The Lowdown
The Savoy is the UK’s most historic luxury hotel. Enviously positioned between the River Thames and Covent Garden, it is in the cultural heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities. What better place to open Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant?
Founded in 1998, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants comprises the restaurant business of acclaimed chef, restaurateur, TV personality and author Gordon Ramsay. With a growing portfolio of over 45 outlets, it is one of the largest privately-owned restaurant groups in the UK. The group currently has 22 restaurants internationally including the UK, USA, France, Dubai and Singapore with further international openings planned to include South Korea, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
The River Restaurant sits at the heart of the hotel, as you might expect – overlooking the river. If you can, bag yourself a table in the window. Here, the magic of the opulent interiors combined with the calming presence of the river nearby make for the perfect dining setting. Upon arrival, our sommelier greeted us with a glass of house champagne, from a tiny, family-run vineyard outside Reims.
The River Restaurant: The Food
We ordered a dozen oysters – six from Achill, Ireland and six from Cumbrae, Scotland. Our waiter suggested we try the taramasalata, one of their classics too. We did not regret it. There are few places outside of Orford, Suffolk (home to the UK’s fish mecca, The Butley Oysterage) where I’ve had such delicious taramasalata. Light, fluffy, lined with citrus and lightly seasoned, this taramasalata was absolutely unlike any other. It’s confident, refined, and not messed around with. And for seafood lovers like me, exactly what it should be.
To follow, a butter-baked cod and the Day Boat Special, which that evening was a John Dory, with a side of fries and heritage tomatoes for good measure. Aptly, for a fish restaurant, both pieces of fish were cooked to perfection. Still steaming with the fragrant aromas of lemon and olive oil. The carrot and pistachio notes on the cod balanced each other perfectly, while the John Dory’s meatiness needed only a squeeze of lemon. We devoured both fish, and all the sides (shoutout to the excellently seasoned fries – a must-order), alongside a wine pairing recommendation from the charming and knowledgeable sommelier. Needless to say, we were in very safe hands for the evening.
The River Restaurant: The Verdict
You can tell a talented chef by their confidence in the quality of their ingredients. The chefs at The River Restaurant exude confidence through their dishes, in everyone the ingredients reign supreme and there’s nothing better. But what did we expect from the celebrity chef who has held three Michelin stars for 21 years?
For more information on The River Restaurant, see here.
The Savoy Hotel, Strand, London WC2R 0EZ