A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Everything:  Araminta Power reviews Northbank

It’s not my first visit to Northbank, I have to confess.  They must have just opened when I was invited to a PA Club event there about 10 years ago.  And finding it was just around the corner and served excellent, particularly fishy, food, I’ve been booking the Boss for lunch and dinner, ever since.  It suits him perfectly, with just the right balance of formal  (regular readers may know he prefers the security of white linen and wine glasses) and informal and food he need never fear will let him down.

There are neat semi-private booths for a close business lunch, larger more open tables for meeting with colleagues, a bar and outside, an airy terrace where Miles Better, our Director of HR, has been known to sit and clear his handsome head of whatever worries beset it. Best of all, the restaurant overlooks the river, a lovely long view across to the neat nugget that is Shakespeare’s Globe, upriver to Tate Modern and down to the Shard.  There is nothing like a view over water to lift the spirits.

Northbank’s problem (but also its attraction) is that it is so discreet and it certainly doesn’t get “passing trade”.  Tucked away, almost beneath the Millennium Bridge, no one knows it’s there, despite its being so close to so much and so many.

My guest, Amy, works just 16 minutes away (she knows: she timed her walk) and is delighted to discover this “hidden gem” so close to her office in Fetter Lane.  She often looks for high-end dinner venues, for both business and personal affairs, and is really pleased to have this one to add to her list.  “It’s perfect,” she says.  “The guys could even come here for lunch and get back within the hour – especially if they were to pre-order.  The terrace looks lovely: it’d be a great place to gather in the summer for after work drinks.”  Amy was also impressed at how our cheerful waitress dealt with her dietary requirements and checked the ingredients with the chef.

The menu is brief – always a good thing in my book – with a meat, a fish and a fowl, plus the chargrill.  Northbank’s owner, Christian Butler, comes from Cornwall and you can feel influence, particularly in the fish which is delivered daily from Cornish fishing boats.  So the menu changes with each day’s catch.

Our waitress recommended a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – one of Amy’s favourites – to go with our choices, mine chicken livers to begin, reposing on a soft pillow of brioche, decorated with what looked like tiny nasturtium leaves.  Gorgeous warm, voluptuous  mouthfuls.

Amy’s starter was chargrilled squid with a round of pineapple, which she said, surprisingly, really complemented each other.  She said the squid was cooked really well, which is difficult to get right!

At this point we were joined by Amy’s partner, also curious to see this mysterious restaurant, which, it turns out is only six minutes from his office in Gresham Street.  He slid into our booth and, without our even having to ask, a glass of wine appeared for him.  “I’m definitely going to tell my fellow lawyers and the PA team about this.  It’s amazing – and so close.  It would work really well for a multitude of meetings and social events.”

Amy and I both chose the Catch of the Day – hake, a firm meaty fish, cooked with crispy salty skin.  Alongside we ordered chips which were huge and ungainly, like the building material for a log cabin, and perfectly delicious, just right for eating with fingers.  A lightly dressed salad of mixed leaves, all green and purple, was the perfect accompaniment.

As a lover of fish and seafood, Amy said, “This fish is really generous, full of flavour, immaculately presented and comprising high quality ingredients.”

And somehow we both felt too full for pudding – although there was a lot to tempt us.  And so we said goodbye to our  lovely and off we went, a breezy walk for me, along the river and across to London Bridge and a short walk to Liverpool Street for Amy.  The restaurant really is close to everything!

Love, Minty

The details:

Northbank’s team are delighted to create bespoke event experiences for guests including corporate lunches/dinners, birthday parties, New Year’s Eve parties, wine-tastings, press events, summer parties and wedding receptions.  Total venue hire is available for up to 175 or book the terrace, restaurant or bar spaces exclusively.

Keep an eye on their website for their regular special offers.

NORTHBANK, Millennium Bridge, One Paul’s Walk , London EC4V 3QH  (vehicular access on High Timber St)

Telephone: 020 7329 9299     Email: info@northbankrestaurant.com

OPEN:  Mon-Sat 12:00 -23:00 Food Served: Mon-Sat 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-22:00  (Breakfast available on request)