London’s OXO Tower was very nearly demolished in the 1970s.
Thankfully, people put a lot of stock in it.
Instead it was salvaged, redeveloped, and polished up to become one of the most iconic buildings along the Thames. And for the last 25 years, it’s been an iconic place to eat, too, turning itself into one if those places that manages to suit pretty much any occasion, no matter how casual or fancy.
Perched on the 8th floor of the building, right at the base of the tower itself, is the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie – three distinct spaces each offering stunning views of St. Paul’s and the skyline across the river.
A stone’s throw from the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern, it’s always a good place to have up your sleeve for a pre-theatre or exhibition drink. But with a 250-foot outdoor terrace spanning the length of the building, it’s worth a visit in its own right, too. It always looks quite smart, but it’s currently enjoying a festive glow up with verdant trees, and glittering fairy lights.
First up: the Brasserie is a relaxed space offering all day dining, is open from midday through to dinner, serving up a varied, seasonal modern British menu with showstopper mains and luscious desserts. Accompanying the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows is a daily line-up of live music, ranging from regular jazz, to folk, samba and swing every night of the week.
For special occasions there’s the OXO Tower Restaurant, with crisp tablecloths, an 800-bottle wine list, and a fine dining menu from head chef Jeremy Bloor, who’s been cooking here for two decades. He’s placed a large emphasis on sustainability in both his menu and his suppliers, and the upshot is that this is one of only 23 restaurants in the country to hold a Green Michelin Star.
The menu changes regularly, but you can always plump for the elaborate six-course tasting menu, or go all-out for the 28-day dry-aged Chateaubriand to share – though it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s always a vegan/vegetarian alternative. And it’s also here that you’ll find that afternoon tea, which is served daily, stacked with treats, and paired with Champagne.
Nestled between the two dining areas is the cocktail bar. It’s an elegant space in its own right, but you can also take your drinks out onto that terrace all year round (weather permitting) if you fancy, too. Here you can score all the classics you can throw a shaker at, as well as an ever-evolving list of house originals including the Gothic Manhattan (whisky, vermouth and bitters with a black liquorice rinse), Original Sin (vodka, crème de pêche and nettle cordial) and the OXO Classic Champagne Cocktail, with cognac, vanilla, and Champagne.
It’s a drink worth raising a glass for… several stories up.
NOTE: The OXO Tower Restaurant, Brasserie and Bar are all open daily. Tables on the terrace are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so you might want to book an early slot to maximise your chances (it’s only available to dine in the warmer months – but you can have a drink there any time of the year, weather permitting). You can find and more, and book a table, HERE.
OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie | Barge House Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH
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