Northbank Restaurant and Bar
29 November 2013
Sydney-based media & technology lawyer Brett Farrell visits London’s Northbank where he finds a restaurant that has managed to bring Cornwall to London
Northbank is a modern British restaurant tucked away on the City-side of the Thames embankment near the Millennium Bridge. It’s an easy walk over from the Tate Modern or nearby Blackfriars station. It’s a surprising find of a restaurant whose owner enthusiastically brings Cornwall to London.
I’d formed some preconceptions about dinner at Northbank on a Saturday night. I imagined that it was a den drawing clientele from the surrounding law firms, banks and businesses for power lunches and Saturday would be flat. Perhaps even as my lawyer dining companion (the anonymous @Everymealmatters) noted “Theo Paphitis would dine there”.
I figured that Saturday night was destined to be dotted with tourists sent from nearby hotels and even that was being generous. Instead the place was buzzing with vibrant chat and laughter. We struggled to find empty tables.
The crab & avocado starter was presented in a neat circle and the dish highlighted the fresh-flaked crab’s taste – the avocado a lovely supporting touch. The Scotch egg starter, always a litmus test for talent was solid (the Scotch Egg Challenge shows how seriously chefs take this skill). Even though it was served as a cold starter, it had the sausage cooked well, lovely crumb and egg lightly runny. A tiny jar of piccalilli made in house was a punchy accompaniment to the Scotch egg.
We were encouraged to try the lobster special as a main. @Everymealmatters, with great humility, took one for the team ordered the whole lobster which was dressed in a much too pungent garlic butter with parsley. The claw meat was heavenly and pillow-y soft but the tail tougher but not impenetrable. It came with fries which were the top notch crunch with soft centre.
I tried the eight hour braised lamb shoulder which was served on some par cooked red onion and peppers. The lamb was pull apart tender and had a lovely sticky-ness to it. It was a rich and intense lamb flavour. It certainly need the acidity of the onion and pepper base but I would have preferred the vegetables with a little less crunch.
Puddings on restaurants in this genre usually are similar from place to place – but Northbank set itself out in front in the pudding menu. The lemon meringue soufflé with a delightfully tart raspberry sorbet on the side is worth waiting a few extra minutes for. Its lemon meringue hint is helped along by the sorbet. Personally, I was thankful that @Everymealmatters couldn’t finish it - lightweight.
I punted for the French toast, with grilled apricots that came with a glass of honey mead. On its own the mead was an overly sweet tasting honey so smooth I doubted any alcohol was in it. However, combined with the toast and apricots it was a happy marriage. I was slightly blurry afterwards, so perhaps the mead wasn’t as shy as I had thought.
If you were lucky enough to bag a non-bookable terrace table on a sunny day, you would be well pleased with a long lunch at Northbank. Inside there are uninterrupted views across the Thames. This is a place to take clients you like, or even better, a long team lunch to say thank you for hard work on a transaction.
Northbank - Millennium Bridge, One Paul’s Walk, London, EC4V 3QH
We dined as guests of Northbank. Dinner for two, with wine, approximately £130.