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Butlers Wharf Chop House: The Twist is in the Wine List

Butler's Wharf Chop House
36e Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE
020 7403 3403
Cuisine: British
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Helen Hokin: To shake things up at a restaurant with a history spanning more than two decades, Singh Damn has given the restaurant menu an overhaul. Except for the steak and kidney pudding. He  wasn’t allowed to touch that; regulars were on the verge of petitioning when they thought their hallowed savoury pud was about to be taken off.
 
 After an absence of five years from Butler’s Wharf Chop House, chef Joginder Singh Dham is back. During his time away, stints at The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel have served him well; he returns to Butlers Wharf as head chef.
 
To shake things up at a restaurant with a history spanning more than two decades, Singh Damn has introduced a new bar & grill and given the restaurant menu an overhaul. Except for the steak and kidney pudding, which has been on the menu since opening day some 20-something years ago. He  wasn’t allowed to touch that; regulars were on the verge of petitioning when they thought their hallowed savoury pud was about to be taken off.
 
The new additions don’t stray from the core concept: modern, simple and honest food with British cuisine taking centre stage. New dishes include big cut porterhouse steak to share, roast fillet of Scottish salmon with pea velouté, mussels, wild garlic & Jersey Royals.
 
The wine list, too, has been updated by sommelier, Raphael Thierry: young and effervescent with infectious enthusiasm.Thierry, that is, not the wines.
 
Colchester oysters, to start, were briny and lush with Thierry’s choice of Chapel Down Bacchus from Kent, making it an all English starter for my pal. My Brixam crab on toast was sweet, light and creamy with just the required amount of crunchy from the toast. With it I drank a crisp glass of Aquifer Semillon from South Africa.
 
Thierry suggested we change it up for our mains with, this time, the English wine for me – a glass of Chapel Down Union Red from Kent to drink alongside the most moreish two rabbit legs in a silken mustard sauce. The legs were moist and tender  - and that’s not a given when rabbit is so exceptionally lean. Every  now and then I got a little hot pop from the mustard seeds in the sauce.
 
Our second starter, The 42 day Sirloin (275g), was tender, tasty and served well done – the way it was ordered  - and without the least raise of an eyebrow from our server. This choice ushered in the star of the night: a luscious Quinta Chocapalha tinto from Lisbon. This full-bodied glass of fabulousness gives a quick hit of liquorice which develops, gradually, into damson and plummy notes. Bold and boisterous it’s every bit the big boy needed to stand up to that monster of a steak.
 
Thierry looked on mildly triumphant as we finished the glass between us, and quickly asked for another. I could have gone for a third.
 
For puds it was raspberry Bakewell tarts all round. But I’ve hated custard since school so they kindly swapped my jug for a little scoop of vanilla ice-cream. And then we were beat.
 
With the sort of stellar service we received on our visit, a young, adventurous sommelier revelling in his role, and its prime position in the shadow of Tower Bridge, all being well Butler’s Wharf Chop House will be serving for another twenty years.
 
Helen Hokin was a guest of Butlers Wharf Chop House
 
 
 

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