In a city as saturated as London, the concept of a ‘hidden gem’ has become almost obsolete. The hotspots of Zone 1 draw in the crowds as soon as a 4-star Standard review hits, and so those of us who don’t fancy taking a buzzer to the pub next door/checking phones for a text message alerting to a free table are well advised to look to the concept of a 10-minute train ride (or in this case, also a trip down the Thames on the Clipper) for that on-the-money joint that still has a charmingly local feel, yet lacks the Zone 1 flood post-work on a Friday.
Aside from the address, View 94 takes its name from the glorious river panoramas visible from the capstan-shaped building’s curved windows. The crisply dressed dining room, understated yet elegant, is offset by the laidback bar downstairs, and a sheltered al fresco terrace is filled with shisha pipes and pin-striped lounge chairs. We’re seated at a window-neighbouring table and start with local (Meantime) beers and a perfectly chilled, crisp, blush rosé.
To start, we opt for light, hand-rolled gnocchi served in a delicately spiced, terracotta-hued ginger and carrot purée. The accompanying prawns, sweet and juicy and gorgeously messy, were torn apart with gusto, dunked in that dreamy sauce and finished in their entirety. Crusty rye from the bread board was used to mop up the leftover sauce.
Up next came a rainbow-coloured root veg salad with warm, hearty pearl barley. This wholesome, texture packed dish came topped with crisp rocket, and atop a swipe of smooth root veg purée.
For the main events, beef fillet and rack of lamb came recommended by our effortlessly charming waitress. Earthy flavours of spinach purée, mushrooms and firm heritage tomatoes encircled a hunk of dreamily tender beef, and a pool of heady maraschino jus.
Rack of lamb
Rosy pink-hued lamb evoked the aromas and flavours of the Med: fluffy cous cous with velvety aubergine, and a paint-palette splatter of gorgeous red pepper sauce.
To finish, an entry into the fondant hall of fame: a cocoay-bitter sponge popped to reveal a river of gooey ooziness: mixed with smooth ice cream and cherry coulis, this was like a black forest that had found its grown-up groove.
More experimentation in the form of pistachio tiramisu: light and fluffy coffee cream was sandwiched between glass-thin shards of dark chocolate, the delicate snap of which contrasted with the crunch of chopped pistachios.
Looking out onto the lit-up jetty, and watching the gentle billows of shisha smoke, there’s almost a holiday vibe to View 94 (despite the bite of autumn being well on its way). It might be because it’s in what’s a lesser-explored area of south west London (for me, anyway), or because a top-notch dinner in a London restaurant normally involves a clamour for those turned tables. If you do happen to be a local, View 94 is an undiscovered gift, and if you’re not so near: it’s worth that venture out of the confines of Zone 1 any day of the week.
Prospect Quay, 94 Point Pleasant, London, SW18 1PP