With the first few weeks of spring and the midday sun making even the Thames sparkle, river restaurants will have that seasonal pull on London diners and tourists alike. The Yacht London, a 1927 luxury steamship yacht, has retained its elegant, deco charm despite the recent £1million makeover that is immediately noticeable as you approach from Temple Pier. This North Bank of the Thames from Embankment to Temple is recognised by riverside diners as ‘The Mayfair of the Thames’ with The Yacht London one of the jewels in its watery crown.
The gangplank walk to the deck makes one anticipate and savour what lies ahead perhaps more imaginatively than would be the case for a conventional restaurant on terre firma. These Royal Blue bannered walkways with the prominent Laurent Perrier branding hints at the class and standard that lies ahead and, thankfully, you’re not disappointed. There are three rooms comprising a top deck bar and terrace, cocktail lounge, stateroom and, of course, restaurant.
The refined 1930s interior has nods to an era you might never have experienced firsthand but feel the first time you enter. There’s an air of unspoken old school etiquette about the place and this ambience is not in your face policy just a natural response to the environment. Perhaps the regulars are aware of this, like an unofficial upper-class yachting club. Shirt collars and ties everywhere despite the smart, casual dress options.
Main Course – Whole-Baked Sea Bass with Quinoa
The views of the Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben and South Bank are amazing. Welcomingly relaxing yet stimulating at the same time. A window table has you transfixed by the undulating ripples and waves but the occasional surge has you looking for life belts even though it’s a moored yacht. With everything first class up until this point, one’s preparatory mood for dining becomes that too. It, therefore, becomes hard to disappoint.
And it doesn’t. The impeccable manners and attendance of the staff obligatory as the starter of Game Terrine Pickled Vegetables, Beetroot & Horseradish Cream is served. If you’ve tasted the Whats Hot London five star rated lunch time Game starter at the Michelin-starred Savoy then the Yacht London dish can be considered somewhat superior. A finer mix of herbs to cater for the uninitiated and gourmand alike without compromising culinary essentials and, in his respect, you can also see how it’s been cooked to a degree of perfection which accommodates this wider range of custom.
Starter – Game Terrine, Pickled Vegetables, Beetroot
As a main course, the Whole-Baked Sea Bass with Quinoa Salad comes well recommended. There’s a gentle buttery blend across the whole plate that brings balance to the dish even where the melt in your mouth Sea Bass becomes your inevitable focus with the very first bite. You might find it difficult to find a more delicious comparative sea dish. The Dessert of Chef Signature Creme Brulee is the ‘tah dah!’ moment in a memorable lunch hour of guilty pleasures. And with all these elements considered, it’s an easy five-star dining experience. Your only possible regret? Perhaps not spending even more. That glass of Laurent Perrier Brut in the shadows of a glistening Thames to fully savour a midday in the capital on a 1930s luxury deco yacht.
The Yacht London, Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment London.