Prior to a curious evening of Anglo-Russian (though mostly Russian it has to be said) art-mongering at the South Bank we returned to Gabriel’s Wharf after too long away. In a part of the city that is all too quickly becoming the hide-your-cash capital of Europe the Wharf preserves a corner of quaint charm of little shops and human-scaled restaurants. How long before it’s developed into a 20 storey cash-box with a slew of chain filler in its nether regions is anyone’s guess. But if Kempton can go what chance anywhere of note and memory to the average Londoner surviving the developer’s wrecking ball?
But I digress. We were there to eat and we ate well. Calamari to share as a starter was almost too much for two of us, so be wary before taking it on solo. Crispy batter and a tangy garlicky aïoli made it a winner. Next up a baked sea bream that was a thing of joy. Just fish perfectly cooked. Alongside a lot of spuds and a rash of beans. The spuds could have done with some moisture. Fortunately I had a bottle of floral NZ Sauvignon Blanc to hand to help me out with dryness of the mouth.
The service was excellent, which was a relief as I seem to remember the last time I was here (admittedly in high season rather than the muckiest bit of January) it was slightly more high tension.
We left in just the right mood for a fun evening out listening to Ralph Fiennes roll his eyes as Romeo to a significantly younger Juliet who happened to speak Russian. They seemed to understand one another though (the subtitles on the big screen helped, Ralph didn’t even need to put his glasses on!) so it was all good.
Unfortunately poor old Vanessa Redgrave one chair along was having a right bloody nightmare, banging her hand against the side of her head to try and discover the source of the tapping noise every time she opened her trap. Had she perhaps slipped into some scat Xhosa? Or maybe she’d swallowed a xylophone! No, what she hadn’t realised was that the Pat Butcher-style earrings she was sporting were tapping against the mic lead, giving the sonic impression that she was delivering her stuff to a particularly agitated woodpecker. I hope her roadie sorted it out for the second half. In the face of such unexpected comedy we decided to retire from the scene lest we appear too frivolous for such high-brow fare.
8/10 for the restaurant
9/10 for the orchestra
6/10 for the thesps
#Food #London #AngryWoodpecker
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Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).