the river café
some snapshots from our meal. the 3rd photo down is Carciofi alla Guidea, or roman, deep-fried whole flattened violetta artichokes (with sea salt + lemon — perfection). the photo of pasta includes a tagliatelle alla cacciatore (fresh pasta with ragu of rabbit, pork, pigeon, juniper,
nutmeg and chianti), and a simple pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes. the last photo is their chocolate nemesis cake, a well-known favorite (and worth every accolade, i must admit).
last weekend, my friends and i had the pleasure of dining at the famous river café here in london, owned by rose gray and ruth rogers. this restaurant has been on my “to visit” list for years now … when i knew i was moving to london, i couldn’t wait to eat here.
i’m no restaurant reviewer, so i’ll just say this: it was perfect. the food is simple but made with the very best ingredients. honest, unfussy, thoughtful cooking is my favorite sort; this restaurant has been an exercise in simplicity ever since it opened. it is also the place where 3 of my favorite chefs got their start: jamie oliver, april bloomfield (of the spotted pig & the breslin in NYC), and hugh fearnley-whittingstall (the river cottage). it’s easy to see how they were influenced by this style of cooking and a respect for the best ingredients.
in addition to the above, we ate a crab appetizer, fish and lamb, plus a zippy lemon tart and some burnt caramel ice cream (they told us this dish is sent back the most, because it tastes exactly like burnt sugar and people aren’t ready for that – we thought it was well executed and we ate it all).
the space is warm and comfortable, the people-watching was excellent, and the entire experience feels like a real treat. i like that it’s not stuffy or overwrought. i could go on and on, but i will stop here. i hope to visit again in the summer, and sit outside for a few hours with a glass of wine and another one of those fried artichokes. mmm!