If somewhere could exude happiness it would surely be the OXO Tower Restaurant which you’ll find on the 8th floor of the iconic building. With sweeping views across St Paul’s, the Thames below and the bright lights of the city, it’s a magnet for special occasion bookings. Canoodling couples celebrating milestones, business dinners letting off steam after a successful deal, big birthdays and everything in between. For that reason, the OXO Tower always manages to have a lovely low level buzz about it.
We visited on a gloriously warm summer evening, which meant the floor to ceiling windows had been flung open and the terrace was in full use. It’s a really beautifully light space with attentive waiters milling around the busy room, making sure everything is working like clockwork.
We were handed our menu for the evening but no decisions needed to be made, we were here to try the new British-themed tasting menu created collaboratively by Jeremy Bloor, Executive Head Chef at OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie and Diego Muntoni, Head Sommelier. Together they’ve paired six tasting dishes with six completely different English wines.
It’s fair to say English wine is going from strength to strength right now. There’s an entire week to celebrate the stuff (May 26th – June 3rd 2018) and Champagne producers have even started to plant vines over here to try and combat the effects of global warming. We’re big fans but if you still need convincing or just want to learn more, this menu is for you (£85 or £130 with paired wine).
We began our journey around the British Isles with a glass of English sparkling rosé from Sussex which is exclusive to Harvey Nichols (they have a cracking selection of wines, both online and instore – well worth checking out if you fancy trying something a little special). This was paired with delicate Dorset crab, cubes of apple jelly and a homemade crab ketchup alongside a wafer thin cracker.
Seasonal ingredients continued with beautiful spears of asparagus served with a plate of artfully presented crudités, planted into a goats curd ‘soil’. If you haven’t tried a glass of Renegade wine, prepare to have your mind blown. As the name suggests, it’s a little different. Created in a railway arch in East London, it’s actually a blend of Seyval Blanc grapes from England, Tempranillo and Grenache from Spain and Syrah from Italy. We wouldn’t necessarily want an entire bottle but a glass of the stuff was excellent – perfectly paired with a simple salad of heritage tomatoes, micro basil and basil seeds, showcasing great produce. A citrus spiked plump scallop arrived on a swirl of olive oil powder – here with a Chardonnay from Kent. Lamb was served three ways, as a slow-cooked ‘hot pot’, belly and cutlet with light as air lemon quinoa and buttermilk gel, enjoyed with the only red of the evening – a pinot noir from Kent.
We finished off a gorgeous evening with English strawberries (aren’t they just the most delicious!) and basil mousse, with a cheeky plate of chocolate truffles appearing with our peppermint tea.
What could be better than riverside views and English wine on a sunny London evening? We can’t think of a thing.