Platform is a new restaurant at – or rather within – London Bridge so new, in fact, that they’re still paying for reviews (and yes, that includes me – read my thoughts on THAT subject here). They also proclaim a “new” approach to dining, the “gate to plate” experience. While that essentially means buying seasonal produce regularly from the same producer (hardly novel) they do have reciprocal shares in a small farm in Devon, so their fate is intrinsically linked to the next step up the food producing chain, and vice versa. And our waitress was talking excitedly about a weekend mucking in on the west country farm which sounds like a great idea for any restaurant staff.
The advantages of having a direct link with a farm and paying attention to the basics means the basics can speak for themselves. Simple asparagus with hollandaise to start was faultless while ruby red beef osso buco was an unbelievable slab of flaky flesh hiding a honeypot of bone marrow that hardly needed gravy (which was just as well as there was hardly any). And the rhubarb that came mashed with pear, topped with a cinammon-spiced crumble like fresh tarmac and drenched in vanilla pod custard I’ve been thinking about for days since.
Elsewhere and a ravioli starter was al dente to the point of rubber (in the best possible way), a small parcel of tender meat, crunchy peas that popped in the mouth and lemon rinds, while that staunch British classic Bakewell tart arrived a fluffy sponge hiding under a toasted almond wig. The clotted cream on the side would stand tall against any provincial tea shoppe’s best efforts.
The menu isn’t huge but it changes daily (and even throughout the day apparently) and makes the most of what’s available on the farm. Much is made, too, of how they use the whole animal, although I didn’t see too many trotters or brains come by. Many plates did pass by in puffs of aroma that made me want to order more.
Rioja was sumptuous and cocktais (spelling mistakes less heinous on menus that are printed daily) were strong and forceful. A Calico Jack concoction of rum, apricot brandy, pomegranate molasses and orange bitters kicked like a mule although the margarita had all the charisma of Gordon Brown. Speaking of him, I felt as scrutinised as the former prime minister post-Bigotgate throughout, as the team had been alerted to a blogger in their midst and shift managers mouthed instructions to our attentive waitress with each approach. Then, just as we were sensing more pairs of eyes on us than the 3.47 from Cardiff to Waterloo passing the trainspotters on Platform 6, they announced they were turning the six foot glitterball on for us. Just for us. The pitfalls of freebies I guess.
Everything about Platform has been carefully considered, from the tea lights in spare bits of plumbing to the West Contry cider, and all in all – although you could probably turn down my effusiveness a notch or two to compensate for our preferential treatment and the fact it was my birthday – it’s a much-needed new addition to London Bridge.
Price per head: N/A
Soundtrack: Loungey chart music wafting from the post-work bar downstairs
Clientele: Suits letting loose on the ground floor, office birthdays on the first floor
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