It’s not often that you get a recommendation for a restaurant from the taxi driver that’s taking you there. As we negotiated streets still littered with the debris of the gales we had over the previous few days, which meant a series of odd little jinks and detours in the journey, the driver was enthusiastic about the salt beef and green been starter that he’d had the Greenwich outpost of The Rivington Grill, sister to the Shoreditch restaurant where we were then heading.
The only time I have ever followed a taxi cab drivers advice on finding somewhere to eat was when I complained to an Indian taxi driver in Seattle that I couldn’t find decent Indian food in the US, this after we’d been discussing the cricket all the way from the airport. He dropped me at my hotel, waited for me to check in and then drove me to his cousin’s restaurant a few blocks away free of charge and had a word to give me the good stuff. Best curry I’ve ever had in the
Back outside the Riverside Grill, as the cabbie dropped us off, he jumped out and checked the menu. They didn’t have the salt beef on, but he could recommend the Barnsley Lamb Chop, which was excellent.
The restaurant and bar is a spartan white space with dark wood furnishings with a line in British back to basics regional cooking of which the aforementioned Barnsley Lamb Chop was representative. It’s a lovely sounding menu, with some tantalising inclusions. A fried duck egg with baby squid and bacon was an intriguing starter, if a little humdrum in execution. The Onion and Cider soup was better, simplicity itself, with warm comforting flavours shining through. The lamb chop with kidneys attached was stunning, again simple, but letting the simple pleasure of the two textures work together. The accompanying bubble and squeak was a treat. Other mains were mixed. The Fish Fingers with chips and mushy peas were a touch ordinary for ten quid fish fingers, though I figure this might actually be on the menu for kids. The Suckling Pig with Greens and Quince Sauce on the other hand was superb. Desserts were ample and I couldn’t finish the Apple Crumble with Custard which I’m sure they could advertise as being for two.
The service, however, was frankly bizarre. At the start of the meal the sole waiter in our section was attentive, if not terribly clued up on the menu. Unfortunatly he then proceeded to grow increasingly erratic and then towards the end just plain odd, with repeated requests for some sugar for one of our espressos going unheeded until I went and got some off the bar.
When he finally brought the bill I raised an eyebrow at the price, it’s a little steep for what amounts to simple British cooking, though the quality of produce and execution is generally very good. I might have to take the cabbies advice and check out the
The Rivington Bar and Grill: 28-30 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London Tel: 020 7729 7053