Reaching into East London:
My lack of any sense of direction is legendary. It was perhaps foolish to rely on being able to use the GPS homing device on my phone to home in to the Reach, and even more unwise to rely on google maps (though I did clutch a rain soaked printed sheet of A4 which should have helped). Particularly as the website for the Reach Bar seemed to show the area with an altogether different topography. My tip of the day – the Reach Bar website is really rather more accurate in this case than google maps.
Of course it was cold. Of course it was wet and windy. And dark. That sort of night when you REALLY don’t want to walk three times widdershins around East London’s largest and bleakest roundabout, approaching any passer-by with what must have seemed an inexplicable despair. Perhaps twitter isn’t the ideal way to communicate with would-be dining companions either, though they both tweeted back intermittent messages of support and encouragement. Hindsight is a cruel mistress at times.
In the end two helpful students, perhaps noting the despair on my face and fearing I might throw myself into the Thames, walked me through a very unlikely scrubby path to ‘the only pub they knew in the area’. Thankfully I’d arrived at the Reach to be greeted with a warm welcome and a chilled glass of fizz. The world was alright at last.
Was it worth the trek? Well, we were unlucky to have picked a particularly inclement night. And, the ‘astonishing views over the Thames’ were shrouded by the storms. I suspect for that reason The Reach Bar is a better destination venue when the weather is better. But the staff were friendly and helpful (I arrived to be greeted by the owner at the door just back from venturing out to try and find me). And the food and drink was well beyond the average London ‘gastro-pub’.
So, we ate well, though perhaps not as amazingly well. My soup was pleasant, well flavoured and rich with a good ‘home-made’ texture, but I was just a little bemused by the balsamic glaze decoration around the bowl.
Fresh Atlantic prawns were peeled but left with heads and tails on for easy eating. Served with Aioli and Salad it made for one happy woman across the table from me.
And the Oysters Gratinee (grilled with a cheesy topping) were reported to be excellent by Tasha from FoodIFancy. They did look like the star number.
I was looking for comfort food and a burger seemed the most promising of the main courses to deliver. With chips of course. Again, very prettily decorated with a balsamic glaze. The burger itself though was a satisfyingly unpretentious patty of good quality beef served up with a salad garnish, home made bun and a generous topping of melted cheese. The Reach promises to use local ingredients where-ever possible – and has a freezer-free commitment, so you are guaranteed fresh food every day.
My friend’s lamb (chops rather than cutlets) were subjected to the balsamic pen again, here perhaps for the first time the most convincing and legitimate use. The lamb was tender and melting, in a rich balsamic gravy.
Even the fish and chips appeared on a plate decorated with a balsamic glaze. Perhaps the chef was trying to send us some kind of subliminal message? For whatever reason, the food was unaffected. The batter was nicely crisp and golden, well cooked and well presented and the fish inside perfectly white and flaky. I rather liked the presentation of the salads too, generous portions in small oblique bowl which allowed the content to be nicely dressed.
Although I wasn’t particularly hungry dessert beckoned! – for me more comfort food in the form of apple crumble, which was delicious and appeared with ‘proper’ custard.
The rich, sticky chocolate brownie came similarly garnished and accompanied.
All very delish.
The Reach Bar provided an excellent evening of beyond normal pub food. I’d love to have this place on my doorstep. While for me, the food isn’t sublime enough to make me want to take the journey of over an hour on a regular basis, I can see that it would be a great destination pub for a Sunday lunch or a summer evening meal with a group of friends. Oh and TRUST the website directions rather than google maps!
We dined as guests of The Reach Bar
The Reach Bar
Albert Basin Way
T: 020 7476 8689