Jason Allen 14/06/24

The River Cafe Cafe

The people at The River Cafe have opened a cafe.

And when figuring out what to call it, they didn’t have a creative aneurysm (or a thesaurus apparently) and just settled on The River Cafe Cafe.

It’s kind of a big deal for two reasons: for one, because the last time Ruth Rogers opened a new eatery – some 37 years ago – she revolutionised the whole London food scene. It’s honestly difficult to overstate the influence The River Cafe had, how many young chefs it inspired, how many celebrities have dined there, and how much of the food you’ve likely eaten is a direct result of it. And for two? Because it means that pretty much anyone can now get themselves a meal from the Michelin Starred kitchens of that iconic eatery without needing either a booking or a bank loan.

The River Cafe Cafe

You’ll find it literally right next to The River Cafe which, as you may have gleaned from clues like the name, is right next to the river. Thus, there’s a lovely (and fairly sizeable) al fresco seating area parked out on the riverwalk. Inside, the space is quite similar to the interior of the restaurant itself, with the same gleaming silver bar top and the same ocean blue floor, this time studded with coins of raised rubber rather than carpet. Just to complete the ’90s vibe there’s a huge Damien Hirst Painting stretching across the whole wall, too. It all feels very light, airy, and relaxed.

The menu is considerably more reasonably priced than the mothership next door (where main courses start at £53), although that’s not to say that there isn’t the occasional eyebrow-raiser (£27 anchovies? £15 strawberries?). But by and large, you can get a decent bite to eat for a decent price. There are four types of bruschetta, half a dozen salamis, a salvo of quintessential Italian cheeses (mozzarella, pecorino, parmesan, gorgonzola), and the likes of smashed chickpeas, grilled peppers, Sorrento tomatoes, Abruzzese lentils, etc.

The River Cafe Cafe

It stays open ’til 10pm on weekdays, and there are cocktails to make the lateness count, ranging from a pink pepper negroni, to a limoncello spritz, to a bergamot marg, and – if you can believe it – some Italian wines, too. Glasses start at just £7, which isn’t bad.

The River Cafe Cafe

And staying true to that name, they also do a solid line in pastries, with simple cornetti (Italian croissants) loaded with chocolate, apricot, cream, etc. as well as ice cream coupes, and ciambella breakfast cake. And of course you can get one of their excellent coffees…

…or, as the Italians would say, you can have a River Cafe Cafe caffè.


NOTE: The River Cafe Cafe is open from Tuesday to Saturday (9am-10pm) and Sunday (9am-4pm). There are no bookings. You can find out more at the website right here.

The River Café | Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA

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The River Cafe Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith, West London, W6 9HA

8.5 | Great