River Cafe is maybe London’s most famous Italian, famous for spawning the likes of Jamie Oliver and April Bloomfield (You don’t know who she is do you? Look her up!).
On first impression the River Cafe’s look is a little dated, 90′s seaside, grey’s and blue’s and lacking in warmth. But I digress, I was here for the food so I won’t dwell on the decor.
We shared two starters, firstly the Mozzarella di Bufala with figs and 12-year-old balsamic vinegar. Amazing mozzarella, creamy, some bite but not chewy or sludgy like the awful shit you get at Sainsbury. The balsamic vinegar was just beautiful, I could have licked the plate. The figs outstanding, there’s something amazing about a good fig, these were beautiful, sweet and tender.
Our second starter was the Linguine con Granchio – with fresh Devon crab, fennel seeds, chilli & lemon. I got a few little pieces of shell in my linguine which made me a little cautious gobbling this down. Generally it was nice but there is something about English crab that doesn’t work for me. The crab I’ve eaten in Asia and Australia suits my palate better, it’s a bit lighter and more fleshy. I need a crab-o-phile to tell me why.
For main I had the Veal Shin with White Beans and Baked Tomatoes. The veal was slow cooked, amazingly tender and so fragrant, cooked in a mountain of herbs that made it utterly delicious. The white beans were fucking amazing, they had a similar taste and flavour of mashed potatoes but with more bite, they weren’t a sludgy mess, don’t get the wrong idea, they were brilliant and I’m just too hopeless to describe them properly.
For dessert I had the infamous Chocolate Nemesis, I shouldnt have gotten this but this is River Cafe’s most famous dish, I had to have it. It so rich, something between a moose and tart, it was beautiful but i felt like a pig being fed.
River Cafe serves fantastic food but it should for the extraordinary prices it charges.