Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
I Paulâs Walk, EC4
Tel: 020 7236 0000
Type of food: Modern European/Asian
As the name suggests, Just The Bridge is sister restaurant to Just St James and Oriental (both already reviewed favourably on this site) and is, indeed, by a bridge â the former âwobblyâ Millennium Bridge in fact. Its aspect over the Thames and opposite the Tate gives the restaurant a light, bright and open feel â even on a rainy Thursday - and makes for an enjoyably relaxed atmosphere.
About a third of the building is given over to a huge bar (which also has an outside terrace), which no doubt attracts both City and art gallery types. The rest is the aforementioned open, airy dining room and the setting for some good, solid cooking at good, solid prices.
The menu is influenced by both Eastern and Western flavours, and should please most visitors, the Smoked salmon with Marinated Mozzarella, Cherry Tomato and Avocado (Â£8.60) in particular. Itâs a relatively simple combination but the quality of the ingredients was obvious. Having dithered for some minutes between old favourites of Welsh Rarebit (Â£6) â served on toasted walnut bread and with rhubarb chutney â or Salmon and Broccoli Pie (Â£7.80 starter/Â£11.50 main), the cheesy mash tipped the balance in favour of the pie. Happily so â the big chunks of fish, crunchy broccoli and a rich, creamy undercurrent of mash and sauce providing good comfort eating for such a miserable day. Both dishes were well served by a bottle of Nutbourne Sussex Reserve 2001 (Â£12). Itâs not often you see English wine on a menu, let alone wine from the ownerâs estate, so it seemed worth a gamble. It was. Light, refreshing â think lychee and elderflower â and very crisp, it single-handedly changed my opinion of UK vineyards.
Mains of Aberdeen Angus Beef (Â£13.50) and Chargrilled Fillet of Lamb (Â£12) were also perfectly decent. The beef came with bearnaise, herb tomatoes and (good) chips and was a well priced dish. The lamb wasnât quite as flavoursome but the trimmings of artichoke, plum tomato and mushroom with a red wine reduction lent it a satisfying richness. A side order of Champ Potatoes (because you can never have enough mash) and one of Spinach and Nutmeg (each Â£2.50) were a little unnecessary but tasty enough.
Dessert was more of a mixed bag. Ensemble of Tropical Fruits (Â£5.50) was a fine platter of fresh produce, dressed with passion fruit and pomegranate. Sticky Toffee Pudding (also Â£5.50) was a little disappointing though, despite the presence of good, creamy custard.
On balance though, Just The Bridge offers good value, first class service and relatively hearty fare in pleasant surroundings.
Average cost per head, including wine - Â£30
Value for money: 3/5