Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Short Reviews: Riverfront Restaurant @ BFI, Waterloo

Mussels & Fish Cakes @ BFI RiverfrontBefore I start complaining, let me just say that the food that we had at the BFI Riverfront was really very good. My smoked haddock fish cakes were nice and strong, complimented by a very good tartar sauce, something that I don't say very often, and the "oat crumb" coating was both crispy and tasty. The g/f's mussels came in a very nice tarragon sauce, which was a bit too thick and creamy for me, but not for her.

No, what I take issue with is the price. At first glance £9.50 - £11 for a main seems quite reasonable, especially for such a prime location, but who has just mussels for a main? You at least need some bread and butter (£2.50). Or just fish cakes and a dollop of boiled broccoli? You'd probably want some chips with that (£3.50). (I have to admit, the single serving of chips was pretty generous.)

Purely on presentation alone the fish cakes were missing something. That dollop of slightly overdone boiled broccoli didn't fill up much of the plate. Besides the cakes, broccoli and shot glass of tartar sauce, a lonely slice of lemon was doing its best to fill up the rest of the space.

Then there is the "discretionary" 12.5% service charge which is automatically added to you bill. Previously it's proved quite hard to not pay the full amount, and I was going to test it on this occasion, but our waitress managed to redeem her rude and brisk attitude at the last minute by giving us two cups with our single pot of tea :) But why oh why don't places like this just add service to the prices on the menu and have done with it?!

So we ended up spending £40 on two mains, one glass of wine and a cake and tea. Not so reasonable.

UPDATE: Apparently VAT is charged on the menu price, but not on added service, hence nowhere includes service on the menu price.

UPDATE: We went back during April 2012 and the food was still very good (we had rarebit, lamb burger and mussels in cider, which were all very good) and an accompaniment was included with each main, all priced around the £12 mark.