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|Address:||Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX|
|Tel:||020 3589 2727|
|Price: £47.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £51.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11.00 (Sun -10.30pm)|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
We arrived as walk-ins to the restaurant one sunny Sunday lunch. The maitre d' sized us up immediately; one of us in shorts the other in a hoodie. Perhaps we would prefer the grill?
Sure: it is one room, separated by those silly screens that Victorian ladies would modestly derobe behind. So far as I could tell, the only difference between the grill and the real restaurant is that the latter has white table cloths. Otherwise, same room, same staff and strikingly similar menus.
The room itself is a stunner; high, high ceilings, double height windows and cracking views of Hungerford Bridge. I guess it is better at night, with twinkling lights that don't quite illuminate the detritus of the South Bank.
The menu is standard grill nosh, with terrines and salads to start and steaks, confited duck and the like for mains.
Having just been to the aquarium next door, we had to have the fish. In fact, I wonder if the aquarium isn't really a holding pen for the restaurant: as soon as you walk in you are met by lobster, langoustine, spider crab, cod and all sorts of tasty looking piscine delights. The cod (yes I KNOW, but come on, it probably came from a sustainable source. Next door in fact) was as gorgeous a piece as I've had for a while. Crunchy skin, firm white flesh atop chorizo and chick pea. As lovely a fish dish as you'll find in London bistro land. The other dish, a linguine with wild mushrooms, was pleasant too; properly al dente, but a cold poached egg on top didn't really add anything.
Foregoing the dessert, we instead had a dessert cocktail; a Jaffa martini, which was a Jaffa cake in a martini glass, with orange and chocolate liqueurs. In fact, the bar looks pretty fine too, and turns out a good array of cocktails, with a good number of wines by the glass or half bottle too.
An odd place to find such a good restaurant but, if lost on the South Bank feeling peckish, it is worth negotiating the nightmare maze that is the Festival Hall to find what is, by a country mile, the best place to eat on this stretch of the Ping Pong and Yo Sushi infested river front.