Our Guide to British Food Fortnight on South Bank
We think we can finally admit that we have entered autumn, but the great thing about this slightly chillier season is that it's harvest time, and a time when many products grown on our little island come into their own. So get your loosest trousers on, it's time to fill your belly with the best of British food. Here's what we recommend from the lovely eateries on South Bank.
REAL FOOD FESTIVAL - HARVEST SPECIAL
The Real Food Festival is a firm favourite here on South Bank. They're here every week, Friday to Sunday, with a whole host of tasty morsels for you to sample, and then gorge on! This week they are going bigger and better with even more stalls, all celebrating the best of harvest produce.
The festival organisers have extended their patch to include not only Southbank Centre Square, but also the riverside walk. You can try all manner of treats from cakes, to fresh organic vegetables, farmhouse cheeses to home brewed cider. In an exciting addition to the normal market, there will also be the Real Food Festival Theatre where you can go an watch cooking demonstrations from head chefs at restaurants such as Skylon which is, in fact, just downstream.
For more information about the Real Food Festival, click here.
Adam Gray, the executive head chef at Skylon, hails from Northampton and is a big advocate of British produce. His menu is always 99.9% British, so it’s a perfect choice for British Food Fortnight. Adam has just launched a new lunchtime set menu using the freshest autumn produce that he can get his hands on. He’s picked his favourite starter, main and dessert from the autumn menu and here’s what he has to say about them.
Warm English quail and beetroot salad, with port dressing.
“I like using quail and get mine from Lincolnshire. You won’t see it on restaurant menus that often, but when I put it on it’s always popular. Beetroot is in season right now and the port dressing really works with this dish.”
Pan fried fillet of haddock, with creamed spinach and a wild mushroom broth.
“Haddock is a very British fish and it’s a classic for fish and chips, but it works really well pan-fried too which is how I’m serving it at the moment. I use Scottish girolle mushrooms in the dish too, which come into season at the end of the summer and are delicious.”
Vanilla rice pudding with a dark chocolate and caramel mousse.
“Rice pudding is that classic British school dinner dessert, isn’t it? You will notice the difference when you taste mine! Instead of jam I serve it with a lovely caramel mousse for you to spoon in.”
For more information about Skylon, click here.
OXO TOWER RESTAURANT, BAR & BRASSERIE
Celebrate British food fortnight at the OXO Tower Restaurant where Head Chef Jeremy Bloor’s modern combinations shine some light on some of the best British produce around. It wouldn’t be British Food fortnight without a tasteful tipple, so in addition to the delightful dishes The Bar is proud to serve Portobello Road Gin over ice and lashings of crisp Fevertree Tonic. Alternatively, go bubbly with a bottle of Nyetimber Demi-Sec. Some of our current favourites from the menu include:
Crisp wood pigeon, with fig relish, hazelnut purée, and girolles.
Ah pigeons, in some ways, Britain would be lost without them. But don’t worry, these pigeons haven’t been sourced from Trafalgar Square – this fine breed of pigeon will be accompanied by the finest autumn produce such as colourful girolles mushrooms and the tangy sweetness of fig.
Slow cooked pork belly, clams and coriander, and potatoes.
Clams and coriander are always a winning combination. Pair them with slow cooked pork belly and you’ve got a recipe for food heaven! Plus, no true British dish would be complete without a spud or two.
A selection of Neal’s Yard British farmhouse cheeses.
The fine folk at Neal’s Yard have been making cheese since way back in 1979. From the savoury to the sweet, the smooth to the crumbly, this selection of farmhouse cheeses will have your mouth watering before you know it.
For more information about OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie, click here.
GILLRAY'S STEAKHOUSE & BAR
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar is the most English of English dining destinations, from the interior design to each cut of beef. Set in the County Hall, built 100 years ago to house London’s government, with views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, few can claim a more inherently English location or vista.
Enjoy Sunday lunch in Gillray’s Steakhouse with stunning views across the River Thames. Enjoy our English rib of Angus beef with all the trimmings and a selection of vegetables for only £17.57. This fantastic price even includes a glass of wine. You’ll also get to sample our signature ‘Yorkies’ – they’re delicious!
Gillray’s pays homage to top quality beef 35-day dry aged Aberdeen Angus steak from O’Shea’s. It’s breed Aberdeen Angus is fed mainly a grass based diet and barley finished for only 2 months. The menu features eleven cuts of steak – bone-out and bone-in – 300g Fillet on the bone, 450g Porthouse and 600g T-Bone steaks. Gillray’s Steakhouse signature dish, the 1000g ‘Bulls Head’ steak, steals the show - a 1000g-butterfly cut, double rib steak served bone-in. Choose from one of our sauces: Red Wine & Bone Marrow, Stilton, Steak Butter, Peppercorns and a fine selection of English Mustards.
One of Gillray’s most eye-catching deserts is the signature Sherry Trifle. It includes layered sponge fingers and red fruit soaked in sherry and is covered with custard and fresh whipped cream. This delectable desert is delicately crafted in a hand made jar and so can be taken home if it is too much to manage in one go! Gillray’s also recently won an award for their deep orange and vivid blue Shropshire Blue Cheese on offer, coming third in the British Cheese Awards 2013.
For more information about Gillray's, click here.
Girolles image by Julian Dobson.