In the last decade The Southbank has reinvented itself as the Capital`s cultural hotspot, showcasing the very best in contemporary music, dance, art, food & drink – including Skylon, the Royal Festival Hall`s riverside bar & restaurant. On any given night of the week you`ll find this place packed with a vibrant, eclectic crowd comprised of locals, media moguls, artists, models, first dates, anniversaries, families and old friends. The reason it manages to attract such a large and varied crowd is simple: it`s dead classy. Anyone for immaculate service, stylish sixties interior, champagne bar, five star cuisine all served with a panoramic view of the Thames? Yes please!
I first visited the establishment for my 30th birthday and 3 years on I`m still going back whenever I can find an excuse to soak in contemporary London at it`s most delicious – which just happened to be last week. Recently Skylon has appointed Adam Gray as head chef (who, having earn`t his stripes at first Rhodes 24 and then the Four Seasons) has introduced a whole new menu based on top quality British produce `cooked simply yet creatively` and wanted Lussorian to taste the results (in my experience `simple` cookery has rarely involves roasting `squab pigeon` or making `hazelnut gravy` but then again I imagine Adam has a better stocked larder). I started with scallops, just lightly spiced with a blend of cauliflower cream and maple syrup, simply seared so their natural rich meaty flavour wasn`t overwhelmed by sauce. Utterly fantastic. My partner and I opted for fish as a main again, him with Monkfish served on smoked potato hash with peaks and lettuce and me with a less hearty yet equally generous portion of pan fried skate. Adam cleverly sees the value of sourcing only the very best ingredients and not over complicating produce that is by it`s very nature is flavoursome enough, with him you actually `taste` the fish, the meat, the vegetables- these are dishes that become memories.
Of course the silver service and very charming sommelier Mattia also helped ensure the evening went smoothly, his recommendation to leave the white and try `long Gully` a rich Pinot Noir from New Zealand seemed an unusual choice for seafood, yet combined with the meatiness of the monkfish it made perfect sense. We weren`t in any rush to leave our table overlooking the Thames so stayed for coffee and desert, sampling an light apple sorbet and a couple of the complimentary hand made truffles. There`s no doubt in my mind that Skylon remains one of the best restaurant in London, if you get a chance to visit this year make it an occasion and go for the a la carte, it`s an experience you`ll never forget and certainly never regret.
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