With views overlooking the Thames and the South Bank, as well as its soft lighting and chic interiors, Skylon has long been a favourite among Londoners. But while the setting might tick all the boxes for destination dining, the cooking wasn't quite hitting the same high notes as the Royal Festival Hall location – which is why owners D&D London have drafted in Skylon’s original chef Helena Puolakka to overhaul the kitchen.
Puolakka, who also acts as chef patron of Aster in Victoria, comes up trumps with a menu of classic comfort food. The cooking might be uncomplicated, but ingredients are fastidiously sourced and executed to high standards – think a heap of fresh and sweet Devonshire crab served on toasted bread and smothered with brown crab mayonnaise, or a warming bowl of velvety white coco bean soup, accompanied by a slither of toast piled high with chopped mushrooms.
The best thing we ate was a classic dish of fish & chips from the pre-theatre menu: flaky Brixham haddock wrapped in a deep-fried casing of batter and served with mushy peas, tangy tartar sauce and never-bettered thick-cut chips, golden and crisp with every bite.
For afters, try sticky toffee pudding served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, or opt for Skylon’s upmarket take on a slice of apple pie, a disc of pastry crowned with slices of stewed apple and a scoop of milk ice cream.
Sweet staff and a wide-ranging international wine list are further draws, while a variety of menus (brunch, lunch, Sunday roast) solidify Skylon’s status as a reliable all-round performer in London’s ever-evolving restaurant scene.