The Rex Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain
By JAMES HARROP-GRIFFITHS
Friday nights in London are usually earmarked for date nights, meals out, cultural experiences and walks along the river. I recently experienced all four in one by visiting the Tate Britain on the Millbank for their “Late at Tate” evenings, which offer visitors the chance to explore the gallery with a host of entertainment including music, film and drinks.
This event allows the Rex Whistler at Tate Britain, which is something of a hidden gem in London’s restaurant scene, to open its doors in the evening and create a unique and exciting menu that is inspired by the gallery.
The restaurant is tucked away on the lower ground floor of the gallery. The room itself is large and spacious with high ceilings and the eye catching mural covers all four walls. The mural, painted by Rex Whistler, tells a story of a group of hunters travelling a fictional world in search for the finest game to hunt. The mural is aptly named “In Pursuit of Rare Meats” and provides the resident chef inspiration for the British game menu.
On the evening that I attended with my date, the theme was suitably seasonal and focused on game. Our five course menu was a sight to behold and upon reading the smartly presented menu I was eager to begin the feast. A light and yummy amuse bouche of cauliflower cheese bread and butter pudding with a celeriac purée began the meal perfectly.
The starter was the first of the game, venison carpaccio, a special taste. This was quickly followed by a roasted squash gnocchi, before the main of partridge breast, horseradish dauphinoise and Savoy cabbage. It was an exceptional menu even before the dessert of spiced apple sponge appeared to conclude the meal. A treat from start to finish.
Like most fine British meals, it was accompanied with specifically selected wines from renowned sommelier Hamish Anderson. Both red and white wines were delicious and matched each course perfectly.
The experience and meal in the beautiful room surrounded by the famous mural and below the Tate Britain was fantastic. The staff and sommeliers were welcoming, helpful and friendly. We even had a short speech from the chef himself.
Opening the restaurant for the “Late at Tate” means you have a perfect opportunity to experience fine food and wine after enjoying the exhibition, this combination presents a really pleasurable evening. However, I must note that their lunches and Sunday teas are already renowned.
That said, the opportunity to visit in the evening is a rare and typically British treat for all. You don’t need to be an art, food or wine enthusiast to enjoy it but you will leave with a hunger for more!
If you want to plan a visit to the Rex Whistler restaurant, you can find out more details here: http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain/eat-drink-and-shop/rex-whistler-restaurant