OXO Tower Brasserie
Restaurant in London
All Day Dining Brasserie
“We’re dining in the sky!” Well, not literally, but it certainly seems like we are as we look across the river Thames over to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, the Strand and Charing Cross.
From our vista we watch the sun slowly set on London and smile in agreement; “It’s difficult not to appreciate living in this glorious city.”
At 5pm on a Wednesday, my mother and I are settling at our window-side table at the ultra-modern OXO Tower Brasserie. Housed within an art-deco warehouse space on the South Bank of the river Thames, near to Blackfriars Bridge, the blue lights and blue-grey décor of the eighth floor, 135 seater Brasserie dining space are elegant without being fussy. “I hope the quality of the food can match this spectacular view.” My mother notes as we browse the menu.
The relatively simple and seasonal menu infuses British fish and meats like Cornish cod, Devon crab, and Tamworth pork with the world flavours of Sri Lankan spiced dhal, Thai spiced coconut, Saudi prawns and Israeli cous cous. The vegetarian and vegan options are also imaginative. Each dish is described so deliciously that ordering may take a while. “I cooked the grilled bream...” Our waiter, Marco, kindly approaches to assist our decision. My mother and I glance over to the open plan kitchen in confusion; are all the kitchen staff also waiters or do all the waiters also cook? “Are you a chef?” we ask.
“Oh no, no I am not.” Marco blushes and explains how each waiter is encouraged to join the kitchen staff and cook their favourite meal from the menu in order to understand and better convey, to curious guests like us, the many components that make up a dish. Listening to Marco describe his grilling bream experience leaves us impressed with the attention to detail given to each dish. “Marco, in that case, I’ll have the grilled bream with coconut rice cake, crispy shrimp papaya salad and xo sauce.”
My mother requests the charcoal grilled harissa lamb with Imam bayildi, aubergine caviar and feta hazelnut yoghurt and for starters we opt for Thai spiced coconut pumpkin soup with vegetable dumpling and bean shoots and a serving of grilled Saudi prawns with Israeli cous cous, hummus and za’atar spice.” Our orders are topped with Harvey Nichols’ Champagne, a modest yet solid choice from a list of well-chosen and sophisticated celebration labels and Harvey Nichols house wines; more than 800 bottles of wine are offered.
The night falls on London and we’re almost hypnotised by the city’s lights, glittering one by one, yet lured back to our dining by the aroma of Thai spiced coconut soup and Saudi prawns settling on our table. These are the most plumb prawns I’ve tasted. The dressing and accompaniments are delicate and well judged. Kader, a waiter as charming and on the ball as Marco, promptly delivers our mains. The switch-over of waiters is seamless. Tucking into her generously portioned serving of lamb, my mother is unusually silent.
Would you say this is better than your cooking? I decide to tease her. “It’s good.” Is the delayed and reluctant response. I am surprised. The adjective “good” that is being offered here may seem relatively moderate; it is not. My mother complimenting cooking that isn’t her own is a rare occurrence. This is understandable, of course, because her cooking is divine, as we her loving family, will attest but it’s a proud day for the Brasserie Head Chef Deon Jansen and his kitchen crew. The spectacular setting does not outshine the food.
This mother and daughter both have a sweet tooth; therefore the mix of classic British & European dessert menu does not escape us. A selection of cheese is available for the savoury lovers, yet for us it’s a serving of milk chocolate peanut butter brownie with bitter chocolate ganache and coffee cream and apple calvados mousse with butterscotch apples and cinnamon crumble. Our desserts fill us with a warm sense of comfort and so does the live jazz band, a piano sax duo.
Open Monday to Saturday from 12 noon – 11pm; Sunday from 12 noon – 10pm. 3pm to 5pm.
Liz Tecirli is a freelance travel writer based in London specialising in adventure travel, extreme sports and luxury breaks.
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Advisable|
|Dietary Requirements Accommodated||Yes|
|Restaurant good for||Couples, Bar scene, Large groups, Meeting up with friends, Scenic view|
|Cost per head||Medium|
|Dress Code||Smart Casual, Casual|
|Dining Options||Lunch, Dinner|
Before we leave, we do what all diners at the OXO Tower must do, stand on the spectacular 250-foot terrace and capture panoramic photos of London while wishing for the return of summertime and al fresco dining. The OXO Tower Brasserie is an excellent dining choice for all day and all year round dining.
Starters from £7.50. Mains from £18; Grilled bream £24.50; grilled harissa lamb £26. Desserts from £8. Harvey Nichols’ Champagne stars from £22.50 a bottle.
Last updated on 22-11-2012