We had previously been to the OXO Tower a couple of years back and never really made the effort to go back as the food was good but the atmosphere a little stifled and it does have the reputation of being fashionable a decade ago. Anyway we wanted to go for a nice meal on the Southbank and thought this would be an ideal location for the warm autumn evening. The famous OXO tower itself, is above the Harvey Nics restaurant and is out of view from diners.
We took the elevator up to the 8th floor restaurant which sits on the top of the large dominating building and were welcomed at the small (more style over substance) bar and taken to our table. It was a nice evening weather wise and as the restaurant wasn’t fully booked (I was surprised how many tables were free actually) we had the option to sit outside on the terrace. I was a little cold but the wind was blocked by the building and ended up being quite comfortable once outside. The main restaurant is stark white with white tables, chairs and walls. I can see why some critics say its 90’s with the clinical furnishings.
We were seated outside where there are approximately 15 tables that all stretch out onto Southbank. The views are incredible with the millennium bridge, St Paul’s and embankment and so dining here when the weather is warm is beautiful.
We sat at the white table which is beautifully presented and very professional and were given our menus and wine list. We started by ordering a bottle of the sparkling water and the malbec from Chile which was a little too sweet and lacked body – that was my fault as I was ordering the wine, I admit.
We were served a selection of breads and both ordered fillet of beef, girolles, parmesan gnocchi and spiced golden raisin purée. We were warned that the dish would take half an hour so there would be a wait if we didn’t want a starter. We accepted this and enjoyed the view, wine and conversation. We asked for more bread at this point and our wine and water was constantly topped up without being intrusive.
Our main courses came out within due course and were served with the additonal new potatoes and spinach that we ordered. The beef was perfectly cooked; I ordered it rare and my fellow diner went for medium/rare and both were cooked to perfection. The mushrooms were full of flavour moist yet not watery and the puree was sweet but did not have the taste of raisins thankfully (as regular readers of this blog know I eat almost anything but raisins are just wrong in my view!). The gnocchi was cooked al dente and was served with the sauce so was not dry despite being out in the open air for a while as we conversed.
Service was good although a little confused at times as the wine list was served after the food menu and I had trouble hearing/understanding some of the questions. Saying that it was professional and we were not interrupted unnecessarily throughout. The menu was good and although very formal did live up to my hopes. But the view is the ultimate draw for this place – especially in the warm summer, autumnal evenings. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:
Food Atmosphere Service