Restaurants in Tower Bridge historically consisted of uninspiring chains and money-grabbing tourist traps, but in the last few years there has been a real shift in the area, which has welcomed the likes of cult Indian restaurant Gunpowder and trendy vegan haunt By Chloe into its fold.
Joining the ranks of stylish Tower Bridge restaurants is Tavolino, a riverside spot that’s split across two floors and also benefits from an expansive outdoor terrace that’s well suited to dining in the sunshine. Inside, the best seats in the house are on the upper level, where floor-to-ceiling windows allow for charming views of Tower Bridge and other famous landmarks - the kind of picture perfect vistas that remind you why you fell in love with London in the first place.
Otherwise, the dining room follows a bohemian-chic cream and terracotta colour scheme, complemented by houseplants dotted around the room and cosy banquette seating upholstered in faded green leather.
Tavolino’s menu is split into the traditional four-course Italian format, with bowls of fresh pasta being the stars of the show - not surprising considering this is the first solo project from chef Louis Korovilas, who formerly headed up the kitchen at popular Covent Garden restaurant Bancone. Pre-pasta, you can whet your appetite with some impressive Sicilian-inspired antipasti, including smooth burrata livened up with a sweet and sour caponata and given a hit of crunch from pickled celery, or perhaps a delightfully moreish pile of courgette fritti that come all crisped and salty, perfect for snacking on.
The Instagram-famous ‘silk handkerchiefs’ dish that Korovilas popularised at Bacone is also on the menu here and it’s as brilliant as ever. Made using fazzoletti pasta from the Liguria region, it indeed boasts a supple, silken texture, heightened by the addition of a glossy orange Burford Brown egg yolk. The dish is finished off with a generous smearing of walnut butter, the blunt, nutty flavour working to stop the pasta from being overwhelmingly rich.
If you're too full for dessert you might like a perfectly Italian finisher of an affogato. However, should you have saved room you'll be rewarded with the traditional likes of a chocolate and chestnut mousse and a range of housemade sorbets.
Once you’ve finished eating, a trip to the downstairs bar for post-prandial drinking is highly recommended. Chatty, knowledgeable staff will be happy to whip up all of the usual cocktails, but there is an extensive range of Italian wines and a few digestif liqueurs too, if you want to keep things strictly traditional.