11th January 2016 6pm
My friend chose Tower as the destination for her birthday dinner. We arrived a little early and the welcome desk in museum called up so someone was ready to greet us on the top floor. It was very quiet but was not surprising for a Monday night, particularly at this time of the evening and in January. As a result, we were seated at a wonderful table with a view of the castle. It was a shame the reflection of the restaurant lights meant it didn’t photograph well to share with you properly. It really was a beautiful view – trust me.
We were looked after by very efficient staff. We were going whole hog with a la carte but the set menus offer great value for money, which might well be the option I’d go for should I visit again. Drinks were ordered and we chose what we we’re going to have. I went for the caramelised parsnip velouté followed by fillet steak. My birthday friend went for brown crab and crayfish cocktail followed by rib eye steak. Much of the main course selections were similar prices to the steaks so we decided we might as well go for it.
Olives and bread were provided to keep us going. A usual bug bear of mine popped up. The butter was still a bit hard for spreading. The starters arrived and the velouté was massive. This soup dish was big enough to be a main course. It did have a good flavour and texture but I couldn’t really identify the caramelised flavour but that’s by the by. It didn’t match the wonderful veloutés of Mark Greenaway or Purslane though. The accompanying walnut bread was nice and still warm. The crab and crayfish cocktail delicious and fresh, on the other side of the table.
So to the mains. The steaks were good pieces of meat. According to the menu, they are Aberdeen Angus Scotch beef, dry aged and hung for a minimum of 30 days by Shaw’s of Lauder and John Gilmour. My stead came cooked as requested (rare) but my friend’s medium steak was closer to rare. The hand cut chips we both worried would be rustic but weren’t. They were actually delightful, if a bit on the large side so we couldn’t finish them. The flavour was excellent. The accompanying tomato and mushroom also had surprising good depth of flavour.
Sadly due to the sizes of the portions we couldn’t possibly manage dessert which was a shame as I had eyed up a Black Forest tower and my friend a banana dessert. This was a nice meal. The views were stunning and the service great. However, I wasn’t wowed by this, which was a bit disappointing considering the hefty price tag.
Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 7/10
Overall – 31/40
Cost £112 for two courses for two plus 1 wine and 1 cocktail