Sam’s Riverside is, as its name suggests, on the river bank in Hammersmith, just along from the Riverside Studios. The dining room looks directly out over the Thames, and there are several outside tables with a canopy and heating. The head chef is now Ashley Tinoco, who grew up in Goa and has had stints at The Fat Duck and with Gordon Ramsay. He was the sous chef here at opening. The menu is appealing, with assorted bistro classics.
The wine list had 64 labels and ranged in price from £27 to £410, with a median price of £64 and an average markup to retail price of 2.7 times, which is very fair indeed, especially by London standards. Sample references were Bodegas Aldeanueva Rioja Blanco Barrel Fermented 2019 at £29 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £13, Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2020 at £42 compared to its retail price of £16, and the excellent Gusbourne Blanc De Blancs 2016 at £80 for a wine that will set you back £59 in the high street. For those with the means there was Chateau Pontet Canet 2005 at £250 compared to its retail price of £143, and Opus One 2016 at £490 for a wine whose current market value is £360.
We began with some nibbles. Crab on toast featured a generous amount of sweet, fresh tasting white crab meat on toast, garnishes with fresh herbs. This was a simple but very enjoyable dish (13/20). Also good was Parmesan churros, basically a doughnut stick laced with Parmesan (13/20). Salmon chowder was pleasant, properly seasoned and having quite good flavour (13/20).
I enjoyed beef tartare, with a quail egg yolk and toast, and a little jar of tabasco on the side so that you could adjust the seasoning to your taste. The beef had good flavour and was not chopped too fine, and the seasoning was on the light side but easily adjusted (14/20). Lobster roll had tender lobster, though the brioche bub seemed a slightly curious choice: lobster has natural sweetness, so the sweet brioche bun seemed a puzzling vase for it (12/20). Better was whole Dover sole served on the bone, accurately cooked and served simply with lemon, letting the excellent fish speak for itself (14//20). On the side, broccoli was al dente and fries were crisp and well salted.
Best of all was a blood orange souffle for dessert, the souffle evenly cooked, light and fluffy, the seasonal blood oranges having plenty of flavour and the acidity to cut through the sugar of the souffle (15/20). Service was very good, and our bill came to £96 per person all in. The restaurant seemed completely full on this Tuesday evening and seems to be prospering. It is easy to see why.
Further reviews: 18th Nov 2019