As one of the few new restaurants opening in London this spring High Timber should attract more than its fair share of attention, particularly as the concept is attractive: a steak-focussed restaurant, overlooking the Thames and featuring top-end South African wines. I must admit that was more than enough to get me down there a few days after it opened after twisting my way through the warren off alleyways off St Paul’s Walk*
It’s modern, nicely designed, taking maximum advantage of its panoramic views of Millennium bridge and the Thames. The menu isn’t over-ambitious with steak from Farmer Sharp, matured for a minimum of 28 days at the heart of it. And it read well I was slightly disconcerted to find my appetising-sounding starter of pulled shoulder of Middle White Pork with its ‘apple and vanilla puree’ and crackling ‘wafer’ over-worked and fussy, more suited to a country house hotel than a contemporary city restaurant.
The meat is excellent, the sides slightly less so. Slightly greasy, soft hand-cut chips and heavy onion rings, dusted bizarrely with ground ceps, even though there was a braised mushroom on the plate too. The ‘crispy onions’ they offer with their bangers and mash would have been better.
Another great feature of the place is a walk in cheese room where you can make your own selection, tasting any cheese you want. It would have been good to have a matching glass of wine recommended or cheeses suggested to pair with the wine one was already drinking but, hey, it’s early days. (Apparently they can’t import South African cheeses which seems a shame)
You can also visit the cellars and chose your own bottle which go well beyond the relatively short list on offer in the restaurant though this has tempting enough options, several available by the glass.
I think you’d get the best out of High Timber if you went along with a group of friends to enjoy the wine, a good steak and a cracking location rather than looking for a high-end restaurant experience. The website refers to ‘wine dining’ rather than ‘fine dining’ and that seems to me spot on.
* The easiest way to reach High Timber is to head for the bridge then walk down the steps to the left, turn left and walk along the walkway by the parapet until you come to the restaurant. It’s also very easy to get to the Tate Modern from there if you want to make a half day of it.