December 11, 2014

River Cafe....London Calling!

Just thinking about the topic to write this blog about The River Cafe, located in Hammersmith London UK, takes me to a happy place where I can smell the amazing food, remember the taste of the wines, recall the modern design of the restaurant and the impeccable friendly service. Why wouldn't anyone be happy knowing that this restaurant brings back such great memories. 
I've been lucky to visit London a few times and even had the privilege to live there in my early 20's to experience the backpackers lifestyle (a separate blog about that!). Each time I've visited London, I've been treated to lunch and/or dinner at The River Cafe, the exact restaurant where chef Jamie Oliver was originally founded (according to my sources). The River Cafe specialises in authentic Italian cuisine with many of the produces being flown in directly from Italy; you can't get anymore authentic than that!
The River Cafe was founded and owned by chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (until her death in 2010). Lady Ruth Rogers still owns and runs the restaurant with the amazing help of her staff and together they maintain the quality and sophistication that shines through the restaurant. 
Ever changing menu
So, like I said, when I think of The River Cafe and about the food, I seriously have fond memories and salivate at the thought of having the chance of eating there again. The food there is by far, the most amazing Italian feast I have ever had outside of Italy (although, I must disclaim that I haven't been to Italy, yet, so I would have to state "best I've had to date"). The pasta melts in your mouth and each time I've eaten there the consistency and the quality is at it's finest and not once had I had a bad meal. 

What I love so much about the restaurant is that many of the ingredients (such as the meats and seasonal vegetables) for the dishes are brought fresh daily and for example, if they can only get five quality fish then that is all they will have and once it's sold out then it's sold out! Due to this, it means that their menu changes daily and they keep within the seasons to ensure that you're eating in season fresh quality food. 
When entering the restaurant to be seated you walk pass clean lined white table clothed tables and throughout the restaurant there are splashes of bright colours and this flows through the shirts of the managers. This to me keeps the restaurant fresh, virbrant and modern and really appealing to the eyes; and you haven't even sat down to order yet! The main eye catching object is the huge wood-fire oven taking prime place in the open kitchen and a really massive (the only true big word I can use to describe this) projection clock on the back wall - impressive and stylish.
Photo Credit: Fluid Network UK
The customer service is impeccable with all staff knowing exactly what their role is and which tables they are responsible for. The best part about the service is that if you ask any questions about the menu to the staff (regardless of position, i.e. waiters, receptionist or drink staff) they are able to explain the ins and outs of the menu in detail from what the dish is, what ingredients have been used and how it taste. Amazed by their knowledge of the menu, considering that it changes daily, I was inquisitive to understand how they knew so much in such a short amount of time and it blew my mind to find out. 
Ruth Rogers and (the late) Rose Gray ensured that all their staff, not just the chefs and kitchen staff, are able to know and taste all the food that would be available on their menu by involving everyone with the preparation of the food. On one of my visits I was honoured to have witness the time between lunch and dinner where I saw first hand all staff coming together to prepare the food, from chopping vegetables, peeling vegetables to tasting the dishes and sitting with the head chefs to discuss the menu and all the ingredients that go into making the final dish. I've not known many restaurants to do that with their staff and I felt that this really involved everyone and provided all the staff with an ownership and an empowerment to do their jobs really well as they are able to attend to a customer straight away without having to go to the kitchen to ask questions.
Reading a few reviews through the internet via sites such as TripAdvisor, many customers rate the food high but state that it is a little pricey. To a degree I would have to agree when you initially scan the menu, however, knowing that they will only provide the  freshest ingredients and the service provided, the price is well worth the experience there. The food is out of this world, cooked perfectly and presented tastefully; it sure keeps bringing me back here and the first place I'd recommend to anyone going to London. 

If you have been to The River Cafe, please let me know what your thoughts and experience was and did you love it as much as me? If you haven't been, I encourage and highly recommend that you go and experience a mouth-watering meal. Anyone who wants to take me there again, I totally allow you to fly me to London anytime!

Jo xo

1 comment:

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