It is a surprise when you stroll into Butlers Wharf Chop House to find it has been around for 23 years. Sure it must have had some refurbishment over the years but it could easily have been a restaurant that has just opened last month. It has a simple, clean look that resembles the interior of a ship. In fact, the staff give areas with nicknames like the deck etc. When the weather is warm enough, the outside terrace seats are like gold dust. With a spectacular view of Tower Bridge, there are few tables in London that show our great city in better light.
However, this restaurant isn’t all about looks; in fact they pride themselves in serving simple, honest, good British food. It is about sourcing great ingredients and not overcomplicating the recipes. We started off with a round of oysters, the Colchester rocks were particularly fleshy but all their options were fresh and went well with mild green pepper tabasco or shallots with red wine vinegar.
Starters were uncomplicated but no less appetising. The prawn cocktail was a classic made with well-sourced shrimp-sized crustacean gently coated with mayonnaise and dusted with paprika. The Brixham crab on toast highlights the wealth of seafood at our disposal living in the UK, in this case the sea-fresh crab coming from Devon. The crab meat is juicy and mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise served on a crusty toasted bread.
Vegetarian options are available, but it would be criminal not to order steak when visiting Butlers Wharf Chop House. Here, the options are plentiful and carefully explained from how long they are aged (generally 42 days), the weight and the fact they are grass-fed, Speyside Angus X cattle. We opted for the sharing big cut option of the porterhouse, which has sirloin on one side and fillet on the other side. A dish where you get the best of both worlds, but notoriously difficult to cook right as they do have slightly different cooking requirements. The fillet section is tender and lean, whilst the sirloin has the right amount of fat attached to add flavour to the meat. The buttered carrots were melt-in-your mouth soft whilst the Portobello mushrooms were addictively flavoursome with the addition of garlic butter.
There are very few British desserts more traditional than sticky toffee pudding. Here they use a classic recipe, where the pudding is devilishly spongy and moist and the toffee sauce is suitably syrupy.
A visit here just makes you proud to be a Londoner. If your friends ever criticise British food as boring, simply take them to Butlers Wharf Chop House.