Peter Morrell enjoys the modern European cuisine at one of the best positioned restaurants on the Thames
View 94 is superbly located in the Wandsworth Riverside Quarter development, it has unparalleled views both up and down the Thames and is directly across the river from the leafy grounds of the Hurlingham Club. The restaurant also has a private jetty right on the river for alfresco dining during warm weather.
The restaurant is less than a two minute walk away from the pier where the R5 riverboat stops, so my wife and I decided that a stylish restaurant needed a stylish arrival. Half an hour after leaving Embankment pier and with a wealth of sightseeing opportunities along the way we were seated in View 94. The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated, the ground floor has an informal bar/seating area where you can enjoy a cocktail and light meals. Upstairs the more formal restaurant has cool, relaxing colours and well spaced tables for an intimate dining experience. Both rooms have large windows with expansive views of the Thames and the river front.
Heading up the kitchen is ex Head Chef from Caffe Caldesi, Antonio Sanzone. Born into a culinary family in Puglia, Italy Antonio draws his inspiration from Italian and Europe cuisine when designing the menus.
We started with one of their signature cocktails, a Negroni, featuring gin, vermouth and Campari, it was an ideal expression of what is good about English and Italian ingredients. We nibbled on moreish home-made bread, focaccia, walnut and ciabatta as we perused View 94’s new winter menu, and there were some highly attractive options to choose from.
In the starter section the beef tartare with cured egg yolk and cep dust looked appealing as did the cured venison with a black truffle dressing, but we both decided to begin with seafood. My wife’s seared scallops served with intriguing Jerusalem artichoke textures and chive oil were moist and tender with a very powerful flavour. My home-made smoked salmon was presented with a flourish of pure culinary theatre. It was served under a dome of smoke and the aroma of hickory was the precursor to the taste of the fish itself. The salmon was light and delicate and served with pickle Romanesco, a fennel salad and an orange chilli dressing. Both the presentation and execution of these dishes were superb and a tribute to Antonio’s craft.
It was meat for the main course, my wife had chosen Jacob’s Ladder and I had elected the duck breast. Jacob’s Ladder is the name for short rib of beef, this had been braised low and slow giving it a melt in the mouth quality and a profound depth of flavour. It was served with bone marrow, ‘Soffrito’ the classic Italian celery/onion/carrot underpinning, fondant potato and a squash purée.
My main of pan fried duck breast was equally flavour packed, served pink it came with marinated red cabbage, almond flakes and a mandarin jus. This was a clever combination of textures and contrasting ingredients with the cabbage being the perfect contrast to the richness of the meat.
Another impressive aspect was the range of different shaped and coloured plates that complemented the food. Adding this to the quality linen, cutlery and glassware made the dining experience that much more luxurious.
Maitre D’ Cristian Morini has curated an impressive wine list mainly sourced from family-owned organic and biodynamic vineyards. The wines have been specifically chosen to match Chef Antonio’s menus. There are a lots of old world wines and a good selection from the new world. Our pairing for the evening was at the entry point of £20, the VDP du Gers Blanc “Les Lesc” 2015 made by Plaimont in Gascony. This is one of my favourite French regions for white and this wine was a good example. It showed good herby and citrus notes in the bouquet which developed into more fruity flavours with hints of minerality on the palate. The finish was crisp, fresh and persistent.
We normally miss the dessert course but at View 94 the puddings sounded just too good to resist. My wife’s mince pie with pear and cinnamon sorbet laced with Jamaican rum scent was this festive favourite re-defined. My ‘Cappuccino’ an expresso cheesecake with coffee jelly, home-made fiordilatte ice cream and meringue was an incredibly indulgent treat that could easily get me hooked on desserts.
From every aspect this had been a first class dining experience – the undoubted skill of Chef Antonio and his innovative food was matched by the quality of the service, the decor and the unrivalled Thames-side location.
View 94 is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and for brunch on Sunday. Price for a three course meal with drinks and service is around £60 per head.
Riverside Quarter Pier, Prospect Quay, 94 Point Pleasant, London SW18 1PP