Dining in and around London’s buzzing South Bank is always a dramatic (and heaving) affair – whenever I eat here, I always feel like the neighboring Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are my dinner guests.
But hopping aboard the R.S. Hispaniola ‘restaurant boat’, permanently docked near the Embankment Underground Station, takes the area’s theatrical absurdity to new heights – and at an affordable price, too.
Occasionally distracted by the view of the London Eye across the Thames (back-lit by a gorgeous pink sky), we swiftly perused the restaurant’s snappy, concise menu; a whistle stop tour of European classics, served in a straightforward and familiar fashion.
For our starter we opted for a rich, flavorful and warming tomato soup served with a dense, fresh sourdough – it’s the first time we’ve ordered soup at dinner in a while, and we couldn’t fault it.
For my main I ordered a thickish, sizzling sea bass fillet, which struck a nice balance between oily, fluffy and crispy; it was served with a smattering of perfectly sauteed potatoes and a zingy, colorful portion of Basque Piperade: a thick, stewy concoction of fried onions, peppers and tomatoes that complimented the starter.
Meanwhile, my guest chose a tender portion of chicken breast with seasonal, creamy sweet potato mash and a light mushroom sauce [above].
My favorite course was dessert: a warming, gluttonous blueberry and apple crumble peppered with pistachio and boasting an unmistakably homemade taste. Served with piping hot, velvety custard accompaniment, it’s a no-brainer as the UK chills down into autumn.
A quick word on the service: we were utterly endeared by the kindly and attentive waiters, and the look of intense concentration on their faces as they attempted to serve dishes amid the gentle rocking of the boat. Bless. Obviously, if you’re prone to seasickness, this might not be the restaurant for you, but we found the boat’s gentle movements calming, and our meal a moment of comforting respite amid one of London’s busiest districts.
For more information about R.S. Hispaniola, visit the City Cruises website by clicking here.