As a city dweller I like nothing more than being able to shake off the shackles of winter and indulge in some much needed al frescoe dining- yet London seems to require constant negotiation with the weather, noisy traffic, pollution, tourists and school kids! So instead of digging out the picnic hamper I got myself down to D&D`s Blueprint café situated in shad Thames where floor to ceiling windows offer stunning panoramic views of the Tower Bridge. Celebrating its 21st birthday this year Blueprint is one of the more stylish and sophisticated ways in which to enjoy the riverside. Part of the Conran chain this is the Design Museums answer to fine dining and naturally oozes class; bright and airy with modern finishes the interior maximizes natural light and relies on London`s backdrop for wallpaper.
As the day fades city lights glitter across the water and the restaurant becomes impossibly romantic- don`t waste this experience on cynics, Blueprint is a real gem.
As for the meal itself I fear the title may be somewhat misleading, for cuisine is less `café` and more `five star. Head Chef Jeremy Lee`s has been working his magic with D&D for 15 years and the results off his hard work have paid off. Cuisine is modern European, using the freshest of ingredients and offering customers a wide range of seasonal delights. I highly recommend the baked salisfy and Parmesan to start, having never tasted salsify before and it`s an utterly delicious introduction, the salty cheese really adds a kick to this earthy root vegetable. And if you’re a fish lover check out the turbot for a main, according to my helpful waiter this is `the king of fishes`! Served with fresh artichokes and dressed with a gremola sauce it looked and tasted good enough for royalty. Deserts are equally as decadent; let the dark and irresistible emillion chocolate pudding tempt you into abandoning all good Intentions. These dishes evolve according to the season so expect a few changes each time you visit although I imagine quality is consistent.
There is an extensive wine list as well and the excellent staff are always on hand to help you decide what best compliments your meal. The 2008 Austrian Gruner Veltliner is definitely one I`ll be looking out for again.
Right at the end of my meal I noticed the little Blue binoculars sitting on my and everyone else`s table. A novel little touch to aid your view of the Thames. Apparently light-fingered diners take thousands home every year and as a result the café has decided to run a binocular amnesty. Right now those returning the specs to their rightful home receive a free carafe or wine or a complimentary third course.
So whether its wonderful food, stunning views or returning binoculars to there rightful home, there is something for everyone at Blueprint this summer.
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