Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Le Pont de la Tour, London SE1

When you hook up with an American husband you quickly become a tourist in your own town. I've seen more of London in the past six years than I ever did during the time I worked there and you know what? There's a certain pleasure to be had looking through different eyes at monuments and attractions that you walked past daily without a second glance. One of our favorite spots to wander in the City is Tower Bridge and there's no better vantage point to linger over lunch and take in the view than Le Pont de la Tour restaurant at Butler's Wharf.

Le Pont was one of the first foodie empires to spring up when Canary Wharf and the whole Docklands area started emerging. The company I worked for back then was one of the first to relocate from the West End to Docklands and Le Pont was always packed to capacity with Investment Banking types and Brokers with their clicking brogues and Hermes ties. Whilst those days appear to have gone; miraculously the Pont has remained, if under different ownership.
There's a choice of eating venues; the high end restaurant (strictly business, romance or a bit of both), the brasserie and the chop house all conjoined. We went to our favorite and the best option with kids, the Brasserie. They offer a set lunch at £13.50 for two courses or a la carte. Dr. Dave went with the set option and had some 'honey roast ham, cheddar cheese & walnuts' (sounds like a pub platter to me) and complained that it had an unmentioned mayonnaise style sauce on it that tasted of fish, followed by a goat's cheese quiche which was quite delicious. I had a smoked mackerel salad which was OK, a few bones in it which was a shame - not too attractive sitting there pulling fishbones from your teeth at the table; followed by a salmon in a light dill sauce. The salmon was cooked well but as you can see from the photo it wasn't the best of quality being cut way too close to the skin with that brown fatty piece on show. I wouldn't expect to buy a piece like this from the supermarket, never mind be served it at a restaurant. Anyhow, what was edible was fine.

They have a children's menu from which Mimi had some chicken goujons; she had a nibble at them but much preferred the bread! The service was selective. I had the distinct impression that the servers identified the business clientele and dealt with them at speed and identified the tourist element and dealt with them accordingly.

Ultimately this is a place to loiter and absorb the unparalleled views of Tower Bridge; choose a simple dish and enjoy the fact that its still a better deal than a cafe creme within spitting distance of the Eiffel Tower.

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