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article imageReview: Dining at the Oxo Tower Brassiere, London Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 1, 2015 in Food
London - London has many fine and interesting restaurants. One of the best is the Oxo Tower, located on the south bank. Digital Journal sampled the lunch menu on offer in the brasserie.
The Oxo Tower has two thrilling eating places: a dining room, with an elaborate menu on offer in the evenings, and a brasserie, which serves food at lunch and in the evening. To add to this, it boasts one of London's best cocktail bars (and added enhancement since the complex was taken over by Harvey Nichols.) On a chilly weekend in winter, Digital Journal went to sample the lunchtime offerings in the brasserie.
Before commenting on the experience and food, the Oxo Tower itself has an interesting history and one worth examining. The name — Oxo — is linked to the eponymous Oxo cube (a concentrate used to prepare meat stock) and the site was a former meat factory (before that, it was a power station, then it was acquired by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company.) Also of interest for this Digital Journalist is the fact that a by-product from the oxo meat works was used to prepare the first commercially made microbiological media (agar plates infused with meat proteins, used to grow-up microorganisms for analysis in a laboratory.)
The entry into the Oxo Tower restaurant.
The entry into the Oxo Tower restaurant.
The bar-restaurant complex is located at the appropriately named oxo tower wharf, where is a complex of art galleries and shops selling creative wares. The complex is marked by a tall, distinctive tower, constructed in an eye-pleasing Art Deco style. Near the top of the tower, on the eighth floor, the Oxo Tower Restaurant and Brasserie can be found.
The Art Deco splendor of the Oxo Tower  London.
The Art Deco splendor of the Oxo Tower, London.
The interior of the restaurant is a mix of old and new. The walls are made from London brick, and are covered with different art works, several of which are on sale.
Some of the art work which adorns the walls of the restaurant in the Oxo Tower.
Some of the art work which adorns the walls of the restaurant in the Oxo Tower.
The brasserie itself is buzzing, and it offers a spectacular view of the north side of the river Thames.
Inside the Oxo Tower brassiere over lunchtime. The area has a large window  offering a thrilling vie...
Inside the Oxo Tower brassiere over lunchtime. The area has a large window, offering a thrilling view of London.
It is also sumptuously decorated.
The winter theme extends to the arranged flowers inside the Oxo Tower.
The winter theme extends to the arranged flowers inside the Oxo Tower.
Most importantly, the food. Attending with my wife, we both had dietary requirements which were accommodated without any fuss. I am a vegetarian and my wife requires a gluten free diet. The menu is wide ranging, accommodating meat and fish eaters, as well as vegetarians.
We both selected the same starter, selecting roast pumpkin.
A roast pumpkin starter  prepared with care and attention at the Oxo Tower.
A roast pumpkin starter, prepared with care and attention at the Oxo Tower.
The dish was served with goat's cheese, with delightful crispy edges, and mouth-watering lentils. The pumpkin itself was soft and tasty. Being roasted, it was infused with flavors.
For the main course, I selected lentil dhal (or "dal".) It came with baji-style cauliflower and mini poppadoms. It was magnificent curry, delivering varying and complex spice flavors with each mouthful. Unlike a chickpea dhal, the use of split peas produced a slightly smoother, sweeter dhal.
Lentil dhal dish  served at the Oxo Tower  London.
Lentil dhal dish, served at the Oxo Tower, London.
My wife opted for the roasted sea bass. This dish came with artichoke purée, confit leeks, tarragon red wine dressing. in addition, some roast potatoes infused with rosemary were ordered as a side dish. The fish was easy to eat and prepared to perfection.
The sea bass dish at the Oxo Tower in London.
The sea bass dish at the Oxo Tower in London.
For those who prefer a meat dish, someone on a nearby table let me take a photograph of their dish. They had selected roast duck, which came with cabbage and apple.
The roast duck dish  at the Oxo Tower London.
The roast duck dish, at the Oxo Tower London.
With my meal, I had a large glass of a crisp New Zealand sauvingon blanc. The wine had an aroma of nettles and grass, this later lead to generous gooseberry flavors with an interesting smoky herbal twist on the palate. My wife had a glass of brut champagne, crisp and dry.
The meals being delicious and filling, we opted not to go for dessert. I finished the experience off with a double espresso, while my wife, quintessentially British, plummeted for tea.
Coffee served at the Oxo Tower.
Coffee served at the Oxo Tower.
The overall experience was immensely pleasurable. The food was prepared and cooked to the highest quality, the staff were friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere relaxing. The cost is high, however if you are looking for something special in an unhurried way, then the Oxo Tower brasserie offers a great venue for a memorable experience.
Digital Journal rating: 5 out of 5 (Price - high, a meal for two, with two courses, plus one drink, is in the region of £125 / $190.)
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