Just because you see red braces at the Oxo Tower doesn’t mean it’s pompous and overpriced. In fact, despite some reviews to the contrary, it is neither, and it’s one of the few restaurants in London where you can have a thoroughly good meal while enjoying a stupendous view of the Thames, the famous wobbly Millennium bridge and St Paul’s.
Take the lift to the 8th floor of the Oxo Tower and turn right for The Brasserie and bar – lively, sometimes with live music, and a simpler version of the restaurant menu. To the left is the restaurant itself, with the sought-after tables against the vast wall of glass overlooking the river. There’s also a small terrace outside where, if it would finally stop raining in this wretched country, one can eat outside. OK, it’s not cheap. But the lunch menu at £27.50 for three courses is some of the best value in London, because the food is so good. Dinner is a la carte but you have the added benefit, seasons allowing, of seeing a real Waterloo sunset.
The menu changes frequently and the problem is not finding something appetising, but choosing between mouth-watering combinations such as smoked salmon and wasabi terrine with pickled cucumber and oyster tempura, and chicken salad with pomello, wood fungus, chilli and spring onions. Main courses are equally enticing, with excellent fish (roast tranche of halibut with watercress, deep fried garlic and smoked bacon béarnaise) but also plenty of choice for either carnivores or vegetarians. I can’t even think about the puddings without getting hungry – suffice to say that the milk chocolate tart with mandarin sorbet was out of this world.
The wine list ranges from house at £13.50 (there’s a delicious Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at £16.50) up to £75 (for the red braces). If you can, save a little room for the stunning orange Muscat with your pudding. Go on, you know you want to.