★★★★ | Riverfront Bar & Kitchen, London
Where’s the perfect place to eat breakfast and watch London wake up? It’s the Riverfront Bar and Kitchen tucked away under Waterloo Bridge at the National Film Theatre on the Southbank.
Whether all you want is a freshly-brewed cup of coffee or a full on breakfast bachannalia, the Riverfront Bar and Kitchen is the place to go. With floor to ceiling windows that face the booksellers under Waterloo Bridge, and with gorgeous views facing north to Covent Garden and the City, you can enjoy hours of people watching while at the same time soaking up the very trendy and casual atmosphere.
Opening up at the early hour of 9:00 a.m. every day, and 10:00 a.m. on bank holidays, The Riverfront Bar and Kitchen is the perfect place to start your day. I’ve been there for breakfast a couple times – the first time was a bit of a fiasco as everything that could go wrong did – so me and a friend decided to give it another try, and we were very glad we did.
Greeted by the lovely Jackie – we didn’t waste any time ordering as we knew exactly what we wanted. My breakfast companion ordered a breakfast cocktail – the English Breakfast Martini – tea infused with Sipsmith Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and tangy orange marmalade – and he really enjoyed it. And at £8.00 he said it was worth the money! As I do not tipple before 5pm, I had a glass of the refreshing tomato juice. But it was actually the food that counted the most.
I ordered the American (and not because I am American but because it had exactly everything I wanted in a breakfast – pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausage and the all important syrup) – and it was enormous! It was, as expected, delicious, but a bit uneven. All the slabs of bacon, but one, were cooked well done as I had requested, and the pancakes were different colors (one was a perfect brown while the other was on the light side – huh? exactly!) Sure I know these are minor quibbles but I like it when my pancakes are cooked evenly. A bargain at only £9.50 considering how much food was on the plate! My friend had Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes – a steal at £6.50 – and they were also enormous. Three very large, all the same color, with grilled banana on top, mixed berries and cream along the edges – and lots of maple syrup. He wasted no time in downing it – I really don’t think he chewed – he said it was that good! I am defninetly getting this next time. They were true American style pancakes – soft and brown and absolutely yummy. We also ordered – to share – the Chorizo Mash (£7.50). Smashed & fried potatoes, eggs, spinach & parmesan cheese, with of course chorizo, it arrived in a grill, very hot, and my friend ate most of it! I did enjoy the small portion I had – the chorizo was perfect and it’s just something different to eat then your everyday breakfast. But there’s more the Riverfront’s breakfast brunch menu, they also offer the Full English (£9.50), Vegetarian (£8.50), Eggs Benedict (£7.50), Scrambled Eggs and toast (£7.50) and Smashed Avocado with egg and tomato on toast (£6.50) are some of the other options which is a very good selection. They will also serve the typical Bloody Mary and Bucks Fizz drinks (£7.50 each) and even offer a kids breakfast (at a bargain £4.00).
If you can’t make it for breakfast/brunch, the lunch and dinner menu is full on whatever you want you’ll get. There are also daily specials which the friendly staff will tell you about. And in warmer weather, the restaurant has loads of outside tables for you to dine (or drink) the day (and night) away people watching (as well as barge and boat watching). The venue can’t be better situated – it’s just minutes away from Waterloo, and a nice stroll over the Thames on both the Waterloo and Charing Cross Bridges. And of course the restaurant is in the National Film Theatre – and there’s always something going on – either a film festival, older films or new releases, you can combine a meal with a movie along with a stroll on the South Bank to make a day of it. It’s, for me, the best place to be in London, and once you visit – you’ll feel the same way too.
Tel: 020 7928 0808
Address: BFI Southbank,
Thur-Sat: 9am-1am Sun: 9am–10:30pm
Bank Holidays: 10am–10:30pm
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.