We opted for a mix of adrenaline and sophistication to entertain our SquareMeal corporate ambassadors
Words: Lizzie Frainier Photos: Miles Willis
I’m totally on board (literally) with any scientific report that claims our brains are hardwired to react positively to being by the water. So, when I was given the opportunity to spend the evening aboard not one, but two boats on the Thames, it was an easy decision.
The first was a ThamesJet speedboat big enough for our private group of 12. We donned our waterproof jackets and set off under the shadow of Big Ben at Westminster pier. Things started at a gentle pace as we glided past a roll call of the capital’s landmarks – The Eye, The Tate, The Shard.
Once past Tower Bridge however, the speakers announced a military radio report and the RIB picked up speed to chase the ‘criminals’ – all set to the commentary of crime caper actor Alan Ford, perhaps best known for Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels. Soon, we were crashing about at 30 knots an hour (or 40mph for non-seafaring folk) to a suitably exciting soundtrack. Those at the front of the boat were definitely in the splash zone, while I’d tactically chosen a seat where the person sat next to me could be used as a buffer – sorry Brendan.
After a lot of squealing and clutching onto the rails, we all felt like we’d worked up an appetite and so headed for the R. S. Hispaniola. Permanently moored nearby on the Victoria Embankment, its restaurant Upper Deck has a more glamorous atmosphere with three-course dinners set to the pace of the gentle swaying of the boat. A light beetroot starter with whipped goat’s cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts was a good match for a warm summer evening.
Although the two boats each had something different to offer, it was easy to see how a good dose of adrenaline on the former made everyone more at ease during dinner. Do keep them in that order though, we’re not sure the twists and turns of the speedboat would go down so well after a few glasses of prosecco.
The skippers were on hand to answer questions before we set off down the river, which helped to put any nervous guests at ease.