If you have walked past the site of Westminster Kitchen on the Southbank, you will know it has been an incredibly quiet sushi restaurant for a number of years. It is in close proximity to numerous hotels and the tourist sites on Southbank, but you must wonder about the popularity of raw fish with the passersby. Restauranter Ibrahim Dogus, on the other hand has a remarkable knack of understanding the market, hence the opening of this grill house. It has been packed with hungry diners since its recent opening whether it is tourist, locals or business workers nearby. The restaurant is popular with MPs who work nearby.
The decor is bright, welcoming with striking horseshoe booths and a wide open kitchen and long bar. There are quirky touches like the wall mural explaining different sections of a cow. This is the kind of restaurant which all modern British eateries should aspire to be: clean, friendly and approachable.
Their menu is still a work in progress. When we visited, we went for the tried and tested options like prawn cocktail and smoked salmon. You might not discover anything groundbreaking here, but they will deliver traditional dishes to a surprisingly high standard. The prawns and smoked salmon are remarkably fresh, which is no doubt helped by the high volume of diners every day, so their raw ingredients are constantly replenished.
It is all about the meats at Westminster Kitchen. The rib eye we tried was succulent and had a firm chew. It might not have a fancy label like Wagyu and 28 aged, but the quality didn’t necessarily taste inferior. They also cook the meat just to the right degree for you; my guest loves ordering medium, but more often than not end up with well done. Thankfully this didn’t happen at this grill house.
The surprise package here were the lamb chops; they had a delightful chargrilled taste and just that small amount of fat which adds more flavour to the meat rather than something overly dry and lean. The meat has been well-seasoned to add extra flavours to the taste. They don’t try to extract further spending from you by making you order more sides, the dish comes with steamed rice and mixed vegetables.
We shared a tiramisu for dessert; it was slightly dry but did have that hit of rich coffee goodness you would expect from the classic Italian dessert.
Don’t be surprised if you are sitting next to your local MP when you dine out at Westminster Kitchen.