Time Out says
Rick Stein’s inaugural London restaurant, on the waterfront in Barnes.
Is there a better view of the sunset over the Thames than the one at Rick Stein’s first London venture, in sleepy Barnes? I doubt it. Do ask for a window seat when you book. Either way, the atmosphere here is relaxed and expectant; the clientele mainly grey-haired and well-heeled. Staff range from adept and efficient to young and keen. It all makes for a lovely experience.
A starter of Cornish crab with wakame seaweed and wasabi mayonnaise was a fine primer for what followed – the accompanying bits featuring only a wisp of the accent flavours so as not to overpower the clean, fresh meat. Gremolata prawns, complete with finger bowl, were the first indication that things could get down and dirty. Warmly spiced seafood is a Stein trademark, but if you’re scared off by the menu’s description of the signature Singapore chilli crab as ‘gloriously messy’, then the Indonesian seafood curry is a fine alternative – large slivers of seabass, bite-size chunks of cod and prawns mingling together in Stein’s take on a thick and creamy laksa sauce. A crispy fillet of hake, with a tomato and caper sauce and minted potatoes, was equally fine. Wine-wise, an Australian chardonnay was crisp, light and fruity, and perfectly complemented both the starters and main courses. Puddings were choc-heavy. Skip them and order more starters.
If you’re not local, Barnes can be a bit of a schlep on public transport (top tip: there’s parking in the courtyard after 6pm) – but if you’re after an elegant evening with a view, this is the place.
125 Mortlake High Street
|Transport:||Barnes Bridge rail|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £120.|
|Do you own this business?|
Users say (1)
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4 / 5
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Fine dining at its friendliest!We started proceedings with a punchy ceylon negroni at the bar and some deliciously salty kalamata olives, which made the perfect savoury pairing.
Moving on (and through to the stunning yet comfortable dining room), I next had the scallops with truffle butter, wild mushrooms, croutons and chives, which were a divine starter. If we hadn’t been in such plush surroundings, I would have happily slurped that luscious truffle butter straight from the shells like a beached mermaid.
The main course of chargrilled fillets of sea bass with tomato and vanilla, served with buttery potatoes, also didn’t disappoint. This was a perfectly balanced plate that emanated the restaurant’s mantra of unfussy, clever cooking. The flavourful and surprisingly affordable Australian Chardonnay was a beautiful wine for a beautiful piece of fish.
Admittedly I’m not much of a sweet tooth and probably could have died very happy indeed without traversing the dessert menu. We shared both the peanut butter cheesecake and the chocolate pave, which were all right but not nearly as memorable as what had gone before. My suggestion (for both pudding and the plastic foliage in the overhead hanging baskets) would be to keep it real. There is so much fresh British produce that could be seduced into a tart (or a hanging basket) and would be much much more at home here.
But what really stood out was the friendliness of the service. The bar staff and waiters were all delightful and loosened up the collar of this buttoned up establishment.
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