London restaurants (1): The River Café


London restaurants (1): The River Café

On the hottest day of the year, my first visit to the River Café. I know: it’s almost inexcusable not to have been before. This is a London institution. Originally opened in 1987, it’s located by the river in Hammersmith, and on a hot day the dappled sunlight of the outdoor seating area is just perfect.

The food? Beautifully crafted modern Italian, making the use of excellent ingredients. There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said about this place. I really liked it. The wine list is good and, naturally, focuses on Italy.

It is expensive, yes. But you aren’t coming here for value-for-money. You are coming for great food, and a good experience. You pay for it, but this is one of the occasions when I don’t mind paying lots, because it is so good. And the place is heaving, so people seem to agree. On a nice day the sizeable kitchen here can serve a lot of covers when the extensive outdoor seating area is in use, and they must make very good money. But they do it so well.

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