SquareMeal Review of
The River Café
Although artisan competition is fierce these days, one fan reckons that The River Café serves “the best ingredients-driven Italian food in London”. This Hammersmith evergreen (30 years young in 2017) is certainly in the capital’s gastronomic ‘Serie A’, although it gains kudos by virtue of its entrancing views and seductive riverside terrace – an absolute must-do on balmy days. The rustic glories of Italian regional cuisine are writ large in a seasonal menu that majors on daisy-fresh salads, glossy pasta and specialities from the imposing red log-burning oven: in summer, that might mean poached langoustines with aïoli and pea salad followed by clam risotto dressed with zucchini flowers or wild salmon baked in sea salt; in winter, Tuscan bread soup with Swiss chard could precede whole Anjou pigeon wood-roasted in Chardonnay with speck, smoked celeriac and watercress. To conclude, chocolate nemesis is still the go-to option, but fruity tarts, grappa-laced pannacotta and the citrusy almond and polenta cake also hold great allure. Prices are top lire, although “exceptional service” and an enthralling wine list make The River Café worthwhile.