When the Festival of Britain opened on London’s South Bank in 1951, it was a fine attempt to put behind some of the post war austerity and to give the public something to look forward to in days to come. When the exhibition finished, only the Festival Hall (now the Royal Festival Hall) and a few odd buildings remained as a permanent reminder of that exhibition.
Over the years the site has grown, with new buildings like the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery supplementing the Royal Festival Hall as a first class cultural location which were quickly followed by the National Theatre and the National Film Theatre. Right up to the millennium, though, decent eating places were scarce in the area. The Royal Festival Hall had a rather smart upmarket restaurant, a bar and a caff – there was (and still is) the lovely Archduke wine bar nearby, but it wasn’t until the last decade or so that we have seen an explosion of eating places sprout up all along the Thames walk on the South Bank.
Now Wagamama vies with Yo’ Sushi for the lovers of Japanese food – there is a plethora of street food stalls from pizzas to ice creams, the upmarket Oxo Tower and Skylon restaurants and a number of little restaurants to satisfy all sorts of tastes.
So wandering along the South Bank on a balmy summer evening, Sonia and I decided to look for somewhere to eat. We eventually came across a restaurant that was not directly on the river but a little way back in Gabriel’s Wharf, just past the National Theatre eastwards. The restaurant is called Studio 6 and looking down the menu we noticed that they had a number of “small plates” that looked interesting. So we went in and ordered 5 small plates between us. As it turned out, they were not as small as we thought they would be and so together with a couple of bottles of Orchard Pig dry cider we were well and truly full up by the time we had finished.
A delicious mini mezze with baba ganouche, yoghurt, houmous and a tomato and onion salad with some really crisp pitta bread was one of them – deep fried squid with home-made mayonnaise, lamb meatballs in a spicy chilli sauce, a carpaccio of dry aged Iberico beef with Parmesan shavings and rocket and a duck liver terrine with an onion chutney and mache salad, (which was perhaps the least satisfying of the plates), completed our meal.
We found the quality of the food was really good and the execution of the dishes led to a really tasty meal, but the big bonus at the end was the price/quality ratio of what we had. £41.20 for the two of us including a 10% service charge was a very fair price to pay for what we had. These small plates are priced individually and, for example, £6.10 for the Iberico beef carpaccio was really good value – I have seen similar dishes in Spanish restaurants at 5 times the price.
What we also liked was the cosmopolitan mix of the dishes – we had Spanish, Lebanese, Moroccan, French and English plates which all went down a treat. We understand that the restaurant has a new chef – there is not a lot of information on the restaurant’s website (which needs updating badly) but more power to his or her elbow for producing a delightful and interesting meal for us.
Gabriel’s Wharf, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP
Phone:+44 20 7928 6243
Hours:· 12:00 – 11:00 pm daily.
Wine list 10
Value for money 14