Sunday, 15 February 2009

NOT: River Cafe, Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith W6 9HA

The famous River Cafe is a London institution probably because (a) it's not cheap (b) it's hard to get a booking; and (c) it's inconvenient to get to via public transport.

The light and airy restaurant has floor to ceiling windows with views of the murky Thames but why the cobalt blue carpet? That and the long dining room reminded me a bit of a cruise ship.

The Italian food was generally of a high quality and flavoursome. Everyone else loved their dishes, although personally I thought my spinach tagliatelle didn't have enough of an al dente bite and the scallops in my main dish were definitely overcooked and rubbery. The chococlate nemesis was an amazing chocolate cake, almost like a baked chocolate mouse in its pillowy softness. Service was ok and unremarkable.

So the question I keep coming back to is "was it worth it?". I liked it, but at £65 for 3 courses and a prosecco cocktail, I needed to love it. Besides the cache of name-checking such a famous place, I think I enjoyed my food and surroundings equally at Dehesa the day before, at less than half the price. The fact I could think of many other (recession friendly, easily accessible) restaurants I'd rather go to before this one makes me conclude it as a NOT. Controversial, I know.

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