Oxo Tower Brasserie, Southbank, mum's big birthday, Lego cuisine

We took my mum here to celebrate her 70th birthday. It was a party of 7 adults and baby G so we went for a late lunch on Saturday. We were actually quite lucky with the weather as once the rain cleared we had great views across London. Now first thing to say about the Oxo Tower is that the service is really very good. A warm friendly reception from the moment we walked in. There was no issues about taking baby G's buggy into the restaurant and throughout the meal we were very well looked after. There was a little wait for our table but champagne appeared quickly for the birthday girl and we all settled in very nicely.

The room itself was packed but again a good team of waiters made it work. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and there was a nice buzz of conversation which meant the occasional welps from baby G were drowned out. Now the food itself was a different matter. It certainly talked a good game on the menu. I went for a squid salad followed by the ribeye steak to be served medium. The salad was good though quite watery however I enjoyed it. The others enjoyed their starters of prawns , soup and squid so the stage was set for the main course. However on a whole these were disappointing. My steak was severely overcooked. Normally I would have sent it back but I didn't want to spoil mum's lunch by having to wait for a replacement. At £25 for a main this is a real no no, too long on the pass methinks. My lovely wife had the cod which was nicely cooked but again the kitchen had forgotten to drain the greens properly so they leaked all over the mash turning an initially nice looking dish into a fishy porridge.

The lamb with harissa that the others had looked good and because it was sliced up the kitchen could make no mistake with serving it medium.

Desserts were better I had the chocolate brownie which though good could have done with being a nicer texture. We washed everything down with the lovely house rose champagne, a very good Albarino, a fairly average Shiraz blend and a very good Beaunes de Venises with desert. The bill came to £100 a head which was really going some for some pretty average food. I didn't actually mind the service charge as I thought that aspect of our meal had been good. The Oxo Tower doesn't really cook food it assembles dishes and this shows. Everything looked pretty but I don't know if anyone was checking what was going on the plate. There is no point giving me two lots of delicious sauce with my steak if you are going to overcook the main event. Someone described this sort of food as lego cuisine which is quite apt. So all in all a disappointment, the place looks good and the staff are very professional but someone needs to sort out the kitchen. Having said that mum enjoyed herself which was the main object.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Overall rating
Food 5 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 4

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