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Thursday 25 August 2011

London Restaurant Reviews - Northbank Restaurant

Just by the Millennium Bridge facing the Tate Modern and Shakespeare Globe Theatre, the Northbank Restaurant has some of the nicest views of the Thames of any restaurant on that side of the river. It is a casual bar and restaurant for those wanting an alternative to nearby City boozers or the impossibly busy bars and pubs of the Southbank.

The décor is casual with some beautiful lighting, quirky wallpaper, and table booths. There is a large outside area with many tables, an excellent place for a few drinks after work and for people watching. The bar area is busy but not unpleasantly so, and the platters of charcuterie and cheeses I saw people tucking into with their wines looked good.

Head chef Peter Woods had an impressive career before joining Northbank in 2007, working for the likes of Marco Pierre White and Pierre Koffmann. His menu at Northbank is described as modern British with a Cornish influence, and looking at the various options I can vouch for his seasonal choice of ingredients and was pleased to see that many had their British provenance clearly stated.

To start, I opted for "Whole Dressed Dorset Crab with Celeriac Remoulade" @ £13.50. The crab was tiny, but tasted creamy and fresh and went well with the celeriac remoulade.

Dr G's "Dressed British Asparagus with Baked Ricotta and Wild Rocket Salad" @ £8.50, however, was disappointing. It lacked an adequately flavoursome dressing and the baked ricotta (of which there wasn't much) was an underwhelming choice of cheese.

For the main course, I went for the “Devon Red Rib Eye Steak with Chips, Confit Tomatoes and Béarnaise” @ £22. The meat was flavoursome and cooked medium rare as requested. The “confit” tomatoes were inoffensive enough but I would have expected them to be better seasoned (garlic, thyme, olive oil) and cooked a little longer (as only hours of oven drying can impart).

Dr G had “Sautéed Calves Liver with Puy Lentils, Smoked Bacon and Onion Sauce” @ £18. Despite ordering it rare, the calves’ liver was seriously overcooked and consequently hard and chewy. It was an unfortunate oversight in our opinion and a waste of some excellent quality meat. 

The puddings, on the other hand, were excellent. The “Rice Pudding with Strawberry Jam and Cornish Clotted Cream” @ £6.50 was perfectly cooked and deliciously creamy, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

Our other choice of “Fresh Strawberries with Vanilla Cream and Crushed Almonds” @ £6.50 was beautifully presented and tasted vibrant and fresh.

To accompany our food, we had 4 glasses of different wines (two whites, two reds). The wine list is comprehensive with many New and Old World choices. It is also surprisingly expensive, with only one choice of red and white house wines at £16, with the next least expensive options priced at £23 and £24. One of the wines we tried was the “2008 Bourgogne-Aligoté by Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils” – this wine retails for about £6.30 but at the Northbank, you will pay £31 for a bottle. This 5 fold mark up is not unique to Northbank, but I feel it is excessive.

Cost: The London Foodie was a guest of the Northbank Restaurant. I estimate that a 3-course meal would cost around £35 per person (excl. drinks).

Likes: great river Thames views, good spot for outdoor drinking particularly if you work in the City, casual but trendy décor.

Dislikes: patchy cooking and expensive wine list.

Verdict: I enjoyed the restaurant location, the great views and friendly service at Northbank Restaurant but felt that the cooking was patchy and the wine list expensive. I would love to return one day and give it anoter go but with so many other dining options in London, the Northbank faces tough competition.

Northbank on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks for your honest review!

    I'm waiting for a hidden gem : ) With personal budgets shrinking, I'm fussy when I dine out and waiting for a discovery.

    Do you have tips for San Sebastian?

  2. @ SisterBatik - thanks for your comment Phuong, whether I am a guest of a restaurant or not, my reviews are always honest!

    San Sebastian is very much on my hit list of places to visit so unfortunately I cannot help you there. Have a lovely time, and let me know how you get on there.

  3. I've been to the Northbank once and really loved the food - although I have to say that I possibly loved the wallpaper even more! Yes, it is quite expensive but good quality I thought, and great location.

  4. Come along : ) You would be the best pintxos buddy!

    I think it will be very much trial and error - but being such a foodies delight, hopefully I can't go too wrong!

  5. I work just round the corner from there and from the feed backs of so many ppl who had been, i think your review is spot on. It is kind of "hit-and-miss" with this outlet.
    I will be eating my way round Bilbao and San Sebastian this weekend. We are booked into two 3-stars restaurant. Will report back to @SisterBatik if you msg me.

  6. @ Kathryn - I am glad you did Kathryn, it all depends on the dishes you ordered and who was cooking them on the day I guess.

    @ SisterBatik - I normally google reviews of restaurants if i don't have any personal recommendations and Trip Advisor is always a good place to start. I would not rely it being a foodie's paradise to have a good meal.

    @ Martin Ng - wow, that is amazing timing Martin, hope Phuong will get in touch. Let me know how you get on in San Sebastian.

    @ Greedy Diva - thanks Carly!

  7. The food can be good and the view wonderful - shame the decor is the same as all other restaurants of that kind. London/English trend?

    ...how did you manage to be invited?!? ;D

  8. The location is great... I went there when it was a different enterprise, in 2005. Maybe worth trying it now!

  9. @ Francesca - interestingly I thought the food was a little patchy but was rather taken by the decor.

    @ Federilli - or maybe not Federilli, if you read between the lines...

  10. My Xmas works meal was totally ruined last Thursday here, by the staffs unwillingness to pull a group of over 20 other dinners up about their disgraceful behaviour! They were sat directly behind us for 2 hours and behaved like disgusting drunken football hooligans/louts throughout the entire time! At no point did any of the staff attempt to cool this behaviour down and the staff became stroppy when I asked them to deal with the issue! This is not a football café or a pub! The staff was grossly unprofessional in letting this happen and I told them so! This was not a little bit of Xmas high jinx, it was constant loud shouting, screaming, banging on tables etc...for a solid two hours and the staff did nothing! ruined our meal, which wasn't cheap either! Made worse by rude staff attitude when I complained so very unprofessional! Will never go back here and would not recommend it either! pfft!


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