When it comes to fine dining restaurants, I am rather picky. A restaurant has a lot to prove to me in order for me to spend my precious pennies as a repeat customer.
So far, my fine dining experiences in London has been okay. Overall, the experience was above average, but there was always something that made me decide not to come back in a hurry. Usually it's the service that isn't quite up to scratch or the flavour and/or presentation of the dishes are a bit ordinary.
Skylon ticks all my boxes for a fine dining restaurant. You get a sense of wonderful expectation when you walk into the restaurant. Brilliant white linens, fresh flowers, floor to ceiling windows giving you views to the River Thames. A definite feeling of a special occasion waiting to happen without the wank.
For entrees, I ordered the marinated mackerel w gooseberry, lime and chilli compote. This was served cold. The flavours were deep yet delicate, and the flesh was very sweet. Not a single bone or scale to be found. The compote added a nicely balanced sweet-hot-sour contrast to the fish.
The Lawyer ordered the glazed pork belly w salsa verde. The verdict was delicious. The long piece of crackling added a sense of fun and crunchy yumminess. A good size piece of pork that was melt in your mouth.
For mains, I had the sea bass w broad beans and carmague rice. Just like the mackerel, the sea bass was very fresh and perfectly cooked. I hate places where they serve seafood slightly undercooked. I know why they do that, but to me, it's just a piece of uncooked meat - and if they were to serve it undercooked, I think they should tell you that. I never had carmague rice before - it had a slightly nutty taste and the colour definitely made it more interesting than white rice.
The Lawyer ordered pan-fried gnocchi w morels, fennel and chevril veloute. I tasted a gnocchi and it was quite an experience! The gnocchis that I've had always were chewy, bland and doughy. These were light, fluffy and had a wonderful crispy crust. I loved the vibrant green veloute.
For desserts, I ordered Eton's Mess. I loved the presentation of this. The middle bit was raspberries that were blastered onto the plate. It had a tangy, sherbet taste and a crunchy texture. I have no idea how they did that. It came with sorbet and these sticks of firm marshmallows. Such fun!
The Lawyer ordered a trio of sorbet, which he pronounced to be plate-licking delicious.
We enjoyed the desserts with a perfect cup of coffee. Afterwards they brought out some complimentary petit fours. We were so full but managed to devour them all.
Tasteful decor, attentive, knowledgeable and friendly staff, brilliant flavours and presentation. I really loved the presentation of the food. It had colour, texture and height (don't I sound like a wanker!). I love this place. The tables were spacious and not cramped and you get views of the River Thames. I wanted to stay on and wait for the dinner service.
Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road, Waterloo
Telephone: 020 7654 7800