By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Since opening the doors of The Refinery in Bankside, back in 2008, award-winning bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan have gone on to open a total of eight sites, each scattered around London. Situated within Regents Place, The Refinery is the latest addition to the company’s hearty line up of bars and restaurants and is there most central to date. The newly opened restaurant includes a capacious dining area, deli, outdoor dining terrace and bar. The latter of which offers some of Drake & Morgan’s signature creative cocktails, notably their “Skinny Goldfish In A Bag”, fusing Little Bird Gin, mandarin Vodka and rhubarb bitters, served within a plastic bag also filled with edible lily pads and a fish carved from grapefruit skin, and “London’s Burning”: a potent mix of Kamm & Sons, peach bitters, mescal and a blend of spices, delivered to the table with a Rum soaked cinnamon stick that’s then burnt and dipped into the glass to provide a new flavour twist that’s overwhelmingly smoky.
Unfortunately the weather upon our recent visit made the vast al fresco area seem less than appealing, yet inside, the calming interiors of the Central location give the impression that the summer has already arrived. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that allow light to flood the rustic atmosphere with its brick flooring, natural timbers and unbelievably comfortable seating, with a selection of fur lined seats that feel as though perching oneself upon a giant yak.
The seasonal offerings upon the all-day menu are also comforting, with starters including Crayfish cocktail (6.45), Tempura crispy squid with ginger & firecracker sauce (5.95) and the delicious Little London meatballs (5.95). A bowl of well-sized pork meatballs served in a white wine and butter bean sauce, providing a refreshing change in pace from the typical tomato based meatball accompaniment, while the reasonably priced main courses are just as impressive. Tucking into a warming “Chicken Licken’” Pie (£10.95) encased within a rich golden pastry bursting with roasted chicken and vegetables, served with a creamy broad bean sauce, while my dining companion opted for the enjoyable, and filling, Crab & Crayfish linguine (£9.95), containing a generous serving of seafood atop the perfectly cooked pasta. However, it’s The Refinery’s desserts that are most impressive. Each saving just enough room to sample the “Wagon Wheel”, a chocolate topped heap of toasted meringue, raspberry sorbet, and shortbread, and the tempting Baked Alaska, which was, in fact, one of this writer’s favourite dining out puddings of recent years. The star of which being the gooey meringue that covers the sponge and vanilla ice cream, while the flaming, brandy soaked cherries provided a lingering sweetness as a constant reminder of a well-enjoyed feast.
The newly opened Refinery is a great spot for an affordable meal, just be sure to save enough room for a dessert. You won’t be disappointed.