THE ICONIC HUGS and kisses of the Oxo Tower mark the spot where you’ll find what Trip Advisor has proclaimed “London’s most talked about restaurant.” And with good reason. As if the view across the River Thames afforded by its lofty South Bank position (it’s on the eighth floor of the Oxo Tower Wharf) isn’t enough, the restaurant also has rather glamorous associations with trendy store Harvey Nichols, as it shares the same proprietors.
On this sunny Sunday afternoon, the Oxo Brasserie is buzzing – though it’s too nippy for al fresco dining, which must be truly glorious when and if the weather permits – and our window seat gives us a magnificent view that makes you feel London has to be one of the hippest places on Earth. There are live jazz musicians tinkling and strumming away
in the corner, and we are all enjoying the witty activity book the waiter has handed to seven-year-old Joe, featuring funny food celebrity cartoons including Bread Pitt, Cake Winslet, Piccalilli Allen and – our favourite – Wayne Pruney.
The cuisine is hearty and contemporary – modern British. We were showing my daughter’s French exchange student a taste of classic English food and, wouldn’t you know, our charming waiter happened to speak French so was able to translate for her. Skipping starters (the girls were planning to shop) we tried Sea Bass, Rare Breed Pork Fillet and the most sumptuous Dry Rubber Aged Black Angus Sirloin, a truly handsome feast that would surely satisfy a cowboy for his supper (well, the type of cowboy who might wear Ralph Lauren chaps purchased at Harvey Nichols). Joe, true to form, sampled the Oxo Cheeseburger & Chips, from the children’s menu, which includes a main, dessert and soft drink for £15. There are also two-course and three-course set menus at £24.50 and £29.50 respectively. As Joe as I were left à deux, we shared the Chocolate Trio, £8.50, three delicious artfully decadent puddings with a side of Cookies and Ice Cream.
Having eaten a tad more than an elegant sufficiency, we ambled along the South Bank, where sand artists were busily creating sculptures, and enjoyed the rest of the lazy afternoon savouring the city ■
Oxo Tower Brasserie, 8th Floor, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, South Bank, London SE1 9PH. Tel: 020 7803 3888; open daily 12–2.30pm, 6–11pm Tube: Waterloo/Southwark