The River Cafe has three great things. It does the best Italian food I've had anywhere. It's so exquisite that it's worth going a long way for that alone. Second, Charles, the Maitre d', is lovely, and he has infused a warm, friendly character. Also, it's the perfectly designed place. It's great for the summer, with the tables outside, the beautiful garden and the water. But I love it in the winter too. It's cosy, there's a wood fire, and it has a warm atmosphere. I go there about once a week.
Its design is unique - open, but not sterile. You can see the chefs preparing on the bar, and the cooking going on by the wood stove. Big windows go all down one side, and you get the setting sun.
The owners Ruthie and Rose are both amazing cooks, but if they aren't there it still feels special. Their chef, Joseph, is a star. I went there last night for my mother's 79th birthday, and had his risotto with porcini and red mullet (triglia). It was light, refreshing and delicious, and I was still able to enjoy the main course. I had the beef sirloin, with Swiss chard and stalks. It was wonderfully rare throughout. They grow their vegetables in the garden outside, so everything is fresh.
Then there are the amazing puddings. I always have the chocolate nemesis. It's indescribable.
THE RIVER CAFE
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA, 020 7386 4200,
Average cost per person, for three courses £48
Risotto con porcini e triglia £12.50
Tagliata di manzo ai ferri £28.00
Chocolate nemesis £8
- Roland Rudd is senior partner of Finsbury PR.