The Water House Project
Gabriel Waterhouse’s east London dining sensation put down permanent roots in Bethnal Green in late 2021. The project began around Gabriel’s kitchen table in his flat in 2015. Dubbed a ‘social fine dining’ restaurant, the space offers seasonal-changing, short-form and long-form menus in a contemporary setting close to Regent’s Canal. Diners can enjoy the experience from one of two communal tables, or at one of the eight smaller tables around the room. Michelin-trained Waterhouse is influenced by the Nordics and loves to pickle and brine his ingredients. Highlights include buttermilk and rye with Somerset cream; Orkney scallop with elderflower and oyster leaf; and cod with sherry and lemon balm.
1 Corbridge Crescent, Bethnal Green, E2 9DT
Pear Tree Café
In the middle of Battersea Park, right on the river, Pear Tree Café has been a local favourite since it was opened by Annabel Partridge and Will Burrett in 2016. The café offers great views across the boating lake and a seasonally changing menu in a relaxed setting. When it comes to food, this place has credentials: Annabel and Will met at Petersham Nurseries where they worked with head chef Skye Gyngell, with whom they then went on to open Spring at Somerset House. Expect to enjoy the likes of grilled rump steak sandwich with horseradish cream and onion jam; sweet potato and chickpea curry with grilled flatbread; and roasted pumpkin toast with feta.
Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ
The River Café
Hammersmith’s The River Café was owned and run by chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray until Gray's death in 2010; since then, Rogers has been the sole owner and she’s still in charge today. Since opening in 1987, the Thames-side restaurant has gained a Michelin star, training up the likes of Theo Randall, Ed Baines of Randall & Aubin, April Bloomfield, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall along the way. Simple, perfectly executed dishes include the likes of wood-roasted turbot with potatoes, Amalfi lemon and courgette; fresh nettle pasta with butter and parmesan; and the signature chocolate ‘Nemesis’ cake. An ideal spot for special occasions.
Rainville Road, Hammersmith, W6 9HA
Right on the banks of the Thames, Rick Stein’s London outpost has those all-important river views. The menu celebrates fish and seafood from Cornwall, serving some of the team’s most loved dishes from Rick’s original restaurant in Padstow – don’t miss the dover sole or lobster thermidor. Current menu highlights include seared tuna guacamole with spring onion, chilli and soy dressing; and Indonesian seafood curry with cod, sea bass and prawns, served with pilau rice and a green bean and grated coconut salad. Best of all, a reasonable set menu offers two courses for £24.95 or three courses for £29.95, and includes clam chowder or sardines to start and salmon fishcakes or smoked haddock to follow. Guests can kick-start a weekend with a relaxing breakfast on the river, featuring classics like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or avocado on toast.
125 Mortlake High Street, Barnes, SW14 8SN
Nutbourne is on Ransomes Dock, near Battersea Park. The neighbourhood restaurant is part of the Gladwin Brothers group, which includes Sussex, The Shed and Rabbit. The boys focus on ‘local and wild’ cookery inspired by the philosophy of ‘what grows together, goes together’. On Nutbourne’s terrace, the team offers seasonal menus including fire-roasted premium beef and pork from Sussex, weekend breakfast with Bloody Marys, and a farm-to-fork Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Cocktails and English wine can also be enjoyed on the dockside terrace.
35-37 Parkgate Road, Battersea, SW11 4NP
OXO Tower Restaurant
On the top floor of the OXO Tower, this restaurant offers great views across the Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral. Open for anything from a quick coffee and afternoon tea to a six-course tasting menu with matched wines, the space has been a London staple for over 20 years. From the main menu, we like the sound of truffle burrata with nettle gel, wild garlic, morels and focaccia; Scottish langoustine open ravioli with carrot and mango purée, langoustine sauce and fennel cress; and honey and lemon cake with creme fraiche, lemon balm and honey sponge.
Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH
The Swan at the Globe
Part of Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank, this high-end spot is often the place for working actors to head for dinner following their performance: Mark Rylance, Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Jude Law have all been spotted. As well as booking in for brunch, lunch and dinner, guests can eat their way through Shakespeare's ethereal romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, via an afternoon tea. Inspired by the journeys of the characters, there’s cherry confit and pistachio cream-filled choux pastry topped with crumble; and caramelised honey cream tart with redcurrants and green chocolate moss.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Ombra is great whatever time of day you visit. There’s a relaxed energy, but also something special about sitting outside on a sunny afternoon, looking over the canals with a negroni and some snacks. Head chef Mitshel Ibrahim cooks beautiful Venetian plates such as gnocco fritto with wild boar mortadella; Roman-style fried whole artichokes; burrata, cime di rapa, preserved lemon and pangrattato; tortelli, pumpkin, chestnut and sage; and monkfish with pink radicchio. If you can’t decide on what to eat, there’s a tasting menu for dinner for £65pp.
1 Vyner Street, Bethnal Green, E2 9DG
The Cheese Barge
Mathew Carver, founder of Pick & Cheese and The Cheese Bar, is the man behind The Cheese Barge – a double-decker vessel permanently moored on the Grand Union Canal in Paddington. The barge comprises a 40-cover lower deck dining room and a 20-cover open-air upper deck. Expect a refined menu of British dishes using small-producer cheese, including the likes of Windrush goats’ curd with lamb scrumpets and pickled walnuts; Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire served with fennel and red wine sausages and braised red cabbage; and a half-kilo Baron Bigod, made by Fen Farm Dairy and baked to order.
Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6HY
One of our favourite recent launches, Caravel is a restaurant and bar from Fin and Lorcan, the sons of The French House’s and Sessions Art Club's Jon Spiteri. On the Regent’s Canal, the brothers have restored an old working barge with the help of Holborn Studios. The result is a stylish 40-seater dining room with an open kitchen. Lorcan’s menu is inspired by his time at Quo Vadis, Oldroyd and Studio Kitchen. Expect starters such as sesame prawn toast with spiced tartare; confit duck rissoles; and violet artichoke with kohlrabi. Main dishes span British, Italian and French classics: white crab tagliatelle with fennel and garlic is joined by hearty plates such as crispy pork belly with green beans and anchoïade, or roasted hake with confit potatoes and curry sauce. Desserts nod to Lorcan’s childhood favourites – look out for blood orange jelly with honeycomb, joined by almond cake with salted caramel ice-cream.
Shepherdess Walk, Islington, N1 7JL
Overlooking the Thames, with impressive views of Hammersmith Bridge from the Thames Path, Sam’s Riverside is set within the redeveloped Riverside Studios and features a large bar and private dining room. It offers an array of oysters and seafood, and a modern European menu with a focus on Anglo-French dishes. Try the likes of cured wild sea bream with pink grapefruit, compressed cucumber and chilli dressing; Devon brill with rock samphire, kale, brown shrimp and hazelnut meuniere; and vanilla and buttermilk panna cotta with Yorkshire rhubarb and candied almonds.
1 Crisp Road, Hammersmith, W6 9DN
On the banks of Little Venice, The Summerhouse is a tranquil spot for waterside dining, where guests can tuck into New England-style clam chowder and popcorn shrimp. In the summer months, the picturesque restaurant rolls back its windows to leave only leafy partitions standing between diners and the bobbing barges beside them. We’re a big fan of the decor: picture light-oak floors, whitewashed walls, blue and white striped furnishings and a scattering of seaside artefacts.
60 Blomfield Road, Maida Vale, W9 2PA
The Grand Duchess
The Grand Duchess is a barge moored on the Grand Union Canal in Paddington, which doubles up as a floating restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, it’s all about British fish delivered daily from Cornwall and a drinks list that centres on sparkling wine. The seafood-heavy menu nods to British classics – think beer battered lobster served with chip shop curry sauce or crisp pork belly with cockles and laverbread. The wine list focuses on producers with low outputs who make wine in an eco-conscious way – each one making a nice match for dishes across the menu.
Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6DL
Crate Brewery has a colourful history as a print factory and a squat. Today, it’s a canalside bar, complete with a riverside garden built with the help of the local creative community. The experimental brewhouse serves the full Crate range and more across its rotating taps, plus wine, cocktails and superlative sourdough pizzas. Upstairs, in The White Building, you’ll find acclaimed zero-waste restaurant Silo. Keep an eye out too for the Alfred Le Roy, a bar on a boat which moors nearby and takes guests for drinks-filled trips on the water.
Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, E9 5EN
A lot has changed since Towpath first opened 12 years ago on the Regent’s Canal in Hackney – a time when everything but the toasted cheese sandwich was cooked from home across the bridge. However, it’s still a relatively secret spot that’s loved by locals – and it still closes every winter. Perched beside the water, this is the place to head for a relaxed meal in a vibrant neighbourhood. Whether you’re planning a party or a long lunch, make sure to order extensively from the regularly changing menu, which includes the likes of taramasalata, radishes and toast; brown shrimp with capers, rocket and mint; and goats’ curd and garlic.
42 De Beauvoir Crescent, Haggerston, N1 5SB
Following an extensive refurb by award-winning designer Nicola Harding a few years back, the Bingham Riverhouse restaurant and hotel now feels more like a modern private home, complete with light pastels, deep jewel tones and clean lines. Two all-day dining rooms both look out over the Thames. Our favourite is Restaurant by Steven Edwards, the Masterchef: The Professionals winner who’s also behind the excellent Etch in Hove. On a seasonal tasting menu, dishes could include sea trout with oyster, onion and dill; crab with mayo and onion; and ginger cake with pear and brandy.
61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 6UT