Review: The Brasserie at the Tower Hotel

It was an absolutely beautiful Sunday in London – the kind of day where you just want to stroll in the sun.  The last thing I feel like doing on a hot day is spending time in the kitchen (but if someone could just make a fresh pitcher of lemonade and a platter of fried chicken appear in front of me, I could live with that.)  So I was pretty excited to join some other great bloggers to review the new seasonal menu at The Brasserie.

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First of all, I tend to be skeptical when hotels claim to be right at central London landmarks.  One too many hotels and restaurants have claimed to be in “central London” or “in the West end” when it would barely be visible through a telescope!  But when The Brasserie notes that it’s at Tower Bridge, it really is at Tower Bridge.  This is the view from the door of the restaurant.

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Head chef Kamaldeep Singh joined us to tell us a bit about his attempt to really showcase classic British flavours (such as the pea and mint risotto below, drawing on the classic British pea and mint combination) and to work on sustainability, sourcing food from even zero miles away (“zero miles in London?” one blogger asked, a bit confused before he told us of their plans to start a rooftop garden.)  It’s an ambitious task in London, but the fresh flavours of the menu are clearly up to it.

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I’m a lover of dairy – cheese and ice cream are definitely weaknesses of mine – and the new menu makes wonderful use of cheese – from manchego cheese complimenting the peppercorn cured beef carpaccio (my knife just slid through the tender beef and I felt that I could almost taste the smell of the spicy pepper on the tip of my tongue.)  Myself, Beardy Fiance and most of the bloggers there opted for the pan-fillet of sea bass, which I found was unusual for a seafood dish in its side.  While the fish was perfectly salted, what really set it apart was the buttery crushed potatoes and the salty sweet tang of the diver scallop accompaniment.  The unusual attention to sides stood true for the rest of the meal and even Beardy Fiance, who is not normally a wine buff, thought the wines were neatly paired with the course – he finished his portion and took a sneaky bit of mine as well!

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But I have to admit, my favourite part of the menu was the beginning and the end: the fabulous wheat bread with the homemade flavoured butters – I could not stop eating the chive butter.  It added a salty bite to the butter and if they had not discreetly taken away the bread bowl at the end of the course, I very well may have eaten it non-stop.

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And finally, the dessert.  Oh, the dessert.  I don’t know how the Brasserie knew it, but pannacotta is one of my weaknesses.  And white chocolate?  My idea of heaven includes white chocolate non stop.  This was accompanied by a scoop of pistachio ice cream and berry cheesecake (make room for cheesecake?  I think I can just about manage…)

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British cuisine is often unfairly disparaged and the Brasserie’s seasonal menu shows off basic British food: done simply, but well seasoned and cooked perfectly.  There are other year-round staples on the menu as well (the international fare of burgers and steaks, as well as plenty of British classics like fish and chips and pie.)  It’s a lovely place to visit to showcase London or for a fancy night out – and you can see we cleared our plates!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was invited to review the summer tasting meal by The Brasserie, but all opinions are my own.  You can check out my fellow bloggers: Kitchen Journeys, Simply Sensational Food, Recipes from a Pantry, Slice off Me, London Unattached

I’m still running my Muy Bueno giveaway, so check it out!

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