Baldwin Ho revisits a classic French restaurant in the heart of London.
Le Pont de la Tour was one of the first restaurants I had taken someone out on a date to when I first moved to London and on a repeat visit recently, it has lost none of its romantic charms in the intervening years.
The iconic location, overlooking Tower Bridge, is still as stunning as ever; I would try to grab a terrace table in the summer months where possible. The innovative French cuisine is a food lover's delight and their constant seasonal changes show that they never rest on their laurels, but instead, they are always looking for improvements to their menus.
The 1930s Parisian chic decor speaks of old-fashioned glamour. This is a restaurant where you take someone to impress them. It is very much an occasion to dress up and celebrate what is great about living in London.
There are many diverse options on the menu but I thought the seafood was a particular highlight. You can see from their menu, they are not a fan of mass-farmed seafood with dishes like hand-dived seared Orkney scallops and hand-picked Devon crab.
Using local ingredients where possible to reduce the carbon footprint is also important to a restaurant like Le Pont de la Tour. The dishes are cleverly paired with more unusual ingredients, for example scallops are flavoured with zesty lemongrass along with apple and charred pears and hazelnut crumbs to offer textural variety, whilst the crab dish contains umami-rich brown crab mayonnaise, nasturtium and red shiso.
The main course was an equally classy affair with a supremely tender tasting saddle of Yorkshire venison, which had been beautifully plated with baby beetroots, goat cheese, watercress and crispy kale. Although seafood lovers, should opt for the plateau de fruits de mer brimming with the freshest local seafood such as Jersey Royal and Morecambe Bay oysters along with crab and poached native lobster.
Top service and quality
Crêpes Suzette is the kind of French dessert that is a must order at a French restaurant. It was expertly executed although I would have enjoyed the theatre of having the dessert flamed in front of us rather than away from us at the coffee station area.
All desserts can be paired with delightful dessert wines, in this case, it was the 2013 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos from Hungary.
In the current climate of restaurants opening and closing like a revolving door, it is comforting to visit a restaurant like Le Pont de la Tour knowing that the service and the quality of food will always be as consistent as ever.
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