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The Brasserie at The Tower Hotel

You know the feeling – arriving back to your hotel, exhausted from a day of seeing the sights, hungry but just too tired to go further than the in house restaurant. Usually one wishes one had not. Well, The Brasserie at The Tower is an exception to the rule.

Blessed with an enviable location, surely one of the best for any London hotel, the restaurant overlooks the Thames and Tower Bridge. In the background The Shard rises and rises. This is icon central.

Tower Bridge, London

We arrived on a warm evening and were treated to drinks on The Lawn, a new pop up bar located so close to Tower Bridge you could drop a maraschino cherry from its heights into a fruit cocktail below.

Fruit cocktail, The Lawn, Tower Hotel,London

As the weather began to turn – this is London after all – we were ushered into The Brasserie where our table overlooked the river. From here we had ringside seats for the rain, lightening and, eventually a couple of rainbows.

We had come to sample some of the dishes from the new summer menu which aims to reduce its air miles to zero. Perhaps this is a tall order for a London restaurant but at least the chef may get to grow his own herbs and salads if a roof garden becomes a reality. In the meantime, ingredients are sourced as locally as possible with an emphasis on seasonal British produce.

This resulted in some interesting twists on old favourites. A pea and mint risotto was a rich and fresh dish which kept the vegetarians happy.

Pea and mint risotto, The Brasserie

A large spinach and ricotta ravioli with a basil cream sauce and tomato salsa looked so enticing that I had to stop myself from pilfering the plate alongside mine.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli, The Brasserie

The carnivores tucked into Peppercorn Cured  Beef Carpaccio- hammered to tenderness we were informed – served with slivers of Manchego , charred artichokes, sweet home cured tomatoes and cress.

Peppercorn Cured Beef Carpaccio, The Brasserie

The Gloucester pork belly had been slow cooked for 14 hours to a point of melting tenderness. Served with a heavenly Calvados, cream and butter sauce, this dish would have been as at home in Brittany where the pairing of apples and the finest dairy products is legion. Yet, these ingredients are very British too. The accompanying charred celeriac and stir fried cabbage added both texture and added interest to the plate.

Pork Belly, The Brasserie

The fish course brought a chargrilled scallop, lightly cooked and surrounded by a pea puree, a beautifully cooked fillet of sea bass which perched on a ring of crushed potatoes and capers. It was topped with a sauce vierge both piquant and citrusy which was very good indeed. The bean salsa jarred somewhat – kidney beans not hitting quite the right note on a plate of such fine foods.

Sea Bass, The Brasserie

The desserts, while presented in a attractive manner – fell short of the standard of the starters and mains.

Dessert, The Brasserie

A pistachio ice cream had a good colour but none of the outstanding flavour one finds in Turkey. The pannacotta lacked that cheeky wobble as one’s spoon takes a dip. However, the accompanying margarita was an inspired, refreshing drink served as a foil to all that sugar.

The staff were very attentive, informative about each dish and the accompanying wines, and seemed genuinely keen for us to have a good time, which we did.

On leaving the hotel we paused to admire Tower Bridge and The Shard lit up against a darkening sky. I was rather sorry I didn’t have a room for the night.


I was invited to dinner to review The Brasserie. All views expressed are my own.