Do you know what you’re doing on Friday night yet? You’ve worked hard all week so you don’t want to waste a night out on anything average. That’s why I’m reviewing the hottest places in London, to see if they live up to the hype…
As lots of new restaurants open every week in London, it’s easy to forget about the old classics. However, sometimes we need to slow down. We need to stop believing the hype about the latest restaurant opening having a absinthe bar / raw food spin / 10 ingredients on every plate and question what we actually want.
In a recent restaurant review I said my perfect night out involved great drinks, tasty food that I couldn’t cook myself and a late license for dancing. However, if you’re on a first (or early days) date or you’ve already danced a lot that week then I’d swap the dancing for fantastic service that meant I didn’t have to lift a finger along with a comfortable dining experience.
It was the comfort that I first noticed at Gow’s Champagne & Oyster Bar, which is located a few steps from Liverpool Street station. Upstairs it’s a Champagne and Oyster bar, with a lively atmosphere and the buzz of conversation and laughter from the crowd of revellers, a lot of whom come from the city offices nearby. You can sip champagne and have an oyster or two while watching the hustle and bustle of Liverpool St nearby. The people outside are busy so you don’t have to be!
The hardest thing you’ll have to do is walk downstairs to the main restaurant where you see tables that are decently spaced out (so you don’t feel like the table next door is eavesdropping on you), comfortable red chairs and lots of white linen and silver. It’s old-school, it’s classy and the waiters pull the chairs out for you.
To start with, we had to try the oysters that the restaurant is famous for. Six oysters, fresh from Billingsgate market that morning, they were presented beautifully and tasted even better, just like the sea.
Outside it was raining and blowing a gale so a starter of crab crumble was just as it sounds. Rich, creamy flakes of crab with a crispy potato topping on top. I almost wished I ordered another one to have as the main…(Also, I really should have taken a photo of the middle but once I started eating, I really couldn’t stop!)
I say almost as I had such a delicious grilled plaice as a main course that I could never have started to cook myself. It fell apart easily as I cut it with my knife so it was soft and succulent in my mouth. It was so more-ish that after every mouthful, I wanted to cut another piece and put it in my mouth again.
It’s rare you can order mashed peas as a side dish in a restaurant – normally it’s all steamed spinach or a side salad – so I was quite excited to see it on the menu. It didn’t disappoint.
My friend ordered fish pie, which was full of high quality fish. I could taste the freshness and I loved the creamy potato topping. It was a more flavoursome version of my crab crumble starter and as I tried a few bites I ended up getting my original wish of having the crab crumble again as a main
After all that my stomach was pretty full but I am the sort of girl that can never say no to chocolate. And thank goodness for that or I would have missed out on what has to be one of the best brownies I have ever tasted. I could tell immediately this was home-made, which straight away makes it better that 95% of restaurant brownies. Plus it had warm gooey chunks of chocolate inside. I’d go so far as to say this was a cross between a fondant and a brownie, which is better than both. You get the crispy top of a brownie with a moist texture and really chocolatey molten lava bits. A salted caramel glaze over the icing adds to the orgasmic ‘mmmmm effect’ with every mouthful.
I can’t share desserts so I was glad my friend chose a vanilla crème brulee. He said it was very good, true to the vanilla taste, but I still believe my chocolate was better. I love the way it was presented with a side of berries so we could pretend it was a tiny bit healthy!
Gow’s is the ultimate treat for stressed out city workers or people that have been partying too hard. With top class service, divine food and a relaxed and cosy dining room, you get the same relaxed feeling as going to a spa without having to get your hair wet.
Visit the Gow’s website for more information and booking details. Think of it as your next Friday treat!
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