Having spent countless hours jogging, or idling my time drinking or walking along the South Bank, I have been pleased to witness the development of this formerly drab area of London in the last 15 years.
The area has much to offer and I was interested to hear that Tom Aikens had set up an open air restaurant on the roof of Somerset House this summer. The restaurant has received quite mixed reviews, and I was intrigued when an invitation arrived from their PR machine to join a bunch of food bloggers for dinner there.
Having just been to Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea, I was surprised to see the simplicity of the restaurant menu being offered at the Terrace. Reassuringly short (and a tad overpriced), the menu includes only a few simple starters and main courses, and a selection of mostly British desserts.
Some of the starters we shared included “Coronation Crab Salad” @ £10.50, “Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait” @ £13.50, and “Tartine of Red Onion and Aubergine Compote” @ £9.
My favourite starter was the “Coronation Crab Salad” with mango, toasted almonds and avocado. The crab tasted fresh, and the dish as a whole was deliciously creamy and rich.
The “Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait” were equally good but I felt the portion was rather ungenerous @ £13.50. I also liked the non-fussy but honest presentation of Tom’s “Tartine of Red Onion and Aubergine” and enjoyed its simple flavours.
The best main course in my opinion was the “Hot Smoked Loch Duart Salmon” @ £17.50 with soft boiled egg, watercress and herb mustard vinaigrette. The salmon was lean and of top quality, and was balanced by the soft egg and the peppery watercress salad.
The “Beef Burger with Big Chips” @ £14.50 was the least successful of all main courses, while the “Grilled Paillard of Chicken” @ £16.50 with rocket salad and oven roasted tomatoes was well executed but again overpriced.
The Truffled Chips @ £6.50 were good, deliciously crisp and covered with truffle flavoured cheese.
We also shared a selection of three desserts all priced @ £8. They were rather large and equally delicious, and included “Poached Strawberries with Mint and Champagne”, “Eton Mess with Blackberry Coulis” and “”Mango Rice Pudding with Passion Fruit Custard”.
The Bar Menu also offers a few platters to share like “Charcuterie Board with Breads and Chutney” @ £22 and “Cheese Board and Biscuits” @ £18.50 which may be a better and more sociable option for after work drinks.
The drinks menu is equally short, with a few cocktail options in the £10 region, and six bottles each of white and red wines priced between £20 and £70. There is only one bottle of red wine (Australian Shiraz) below the £20 mark.
Cost: I was a guest of Tom’s Terrace, but I have quoted prices for all dishes I tried and estimate that a 3-course meal (excluding drinks and service) would cost around £35 per person.
Likes: one of the most coveted locations this summer, uncomplicated menu.
Dislikes: some food items are overpriced, limited wine options at a reasonable price.
Verdict: This is an attractive spot for summer drinks after work and a light bite to eat despite the higher than average prices. Recommended.