Sure, there are loads of restaurants dotted along the Thames that boast breathtaking views of the river, but where good food is involved, there are only a handful you’ll find us happily dining at. Thankfully all of that has recently changed with the emergence of a new restaurant that’s landed just a stone’s throw from Tower of London…
Enter Tavolino Bar & Kitchen, the neighbourhood Italian restaurant that’s made a name for itself for boasting the best riverside views in London.
While the hospitality industry suffered severely due to the outbreak of the pandemic, Tavolino decided it was about time to bring a new, produce-led dining experience to the Thames, opening up last July when restaurants were given the green light to open up their doors again. A bold move to say the least, but the concept has since gained traction and has become a favourite of many locals, tourists and passersby on the hunt for authentic, hearty Italian cuisine.
Tavolino – meaning ‘small table’ – is headed by Head Chef Louis Karovilas, formerly head chef of Bancone and a Giorgio Locatelli alumnus. Louis spent several years being mentored by the culinary legend Locatelli and learnt the ins and outs of his culinary craft in Locatelli’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Locanda Locatelli. It’s here that he perfected his pasta making skills and proudly adopted Locatelli’s food philosophy: respect for the produce and the producers; the passing down of knowledge; the notion that a good chef should be a good teacher; and finding the simplest ways to bring out the most taste of the ingredients.
Fast forward to now, and Louis prides himself on serving simple dishes that are cooked with produce from across Italy and the UK, from a carefully sourced selection of individual suppliers.
Spread over two floors, Tavolino is home to coral and teal furnishings and cosy banquette seating that, of course, overlooks the Thames, the City and Tower Bridge. The menu is designed around making the most of its ingredients, using regional artisan products and prepared in the traditional Italian way. The menu staples, including bread, pasta and gnocchi are all made onsite daily, and the ice creams and sorbets are also made in-house too.
Menu highlights include Buratta, charred Treviso radicchio and puffed wild rice; Nduja glazed chicken breast, mascarpone, olives and hot red pepper sauce; Spicy pork and nduja ragu tagliatelle; and Silk handkerchiefs, walnut butter and confit Burford Brown yolk – sheets of delicious freshly made pasta to you and I.
The bar is also a must-visit, with the cocktail menu focussing on the Italian tradition of the ‘spritz’. Perfect for the warmer weather that we’re lusting for come May.
And let’s not forget the outside terrace. Boasting 70 covers, this is going to be the place to head for alfresco Italian dining this summer, overlooking the river and iconic London landmarks.
Head Chef Louis says, “I respect the Italian approach to cooking: a dedication to quality ingredients, eaten at their peak, with the flavours coaxed from each one. At Tavolino, we steer away from using overused produce of mediocre quality and have spent the last six months going directly to suppliers who have been perfecting their produce for several generations.”
If hearty Italian dishes, refreshing cocktails and breathtaking views over London are what you’re after, make sure to add Tavolino to your must-visit list this summer.
If you can’t wait until they open later this month, Louis has shared this delicious Rosemary lamb ragu with fresh pappardelle recipe with us that you can whip us this Easter weekend.
Rosemary Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle
For the pasta:
500g 00 flour
3 large eggs and 2 extra yolks all at room temperature
Pinch of salt
For the lamb ragu:
1 lamb neck on the bone roughly about 1 kilo
2 large bunches rosemary
2 cloves of garlic (peeled)
4 anchovy fillets
300 ml of condimento morbido (or white balsamic vinegar)
3 tbsp of good olive oil
3tbsp veg oil (for frying)
2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
A splash of white wine
500ml of good quality chicken stock
To make the pasta dough:
1. Place the flour in a mound on a clean surface and create a well in the centre and sprinkle the salt inside.
2. One by one add the eggs, followed by the yolks to the well using your finger in a swirling motion to incorporate the eggs to the flour and salt mix.
3. You should find yourself with a crumb-like mix, now bring this mix together using the palm of your hand until you have a firm smooth dough, this should take about 10 minutes.
4. Wrap your dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about one hour or as long as need be, remove from the fridge one hour before use.
To make the ragu:
1. Pick the individual leaves from the rosemary (avoid any stalks or woody bits) place the garlic, anchovies, rosemary and condimento morbido in a food processor and blitz until you have a green sauce (it should look like a very loose pesto) and set to one side.
2. Generously season your lamb neck with salt and pepper, sprinkle with all-purpose flour patting off the excess with your hands.
3. Bring the veg oil up to a high heat in a large casserole pan, you should hear a sizzle as you place the lamb neck in the pan turn the meat until it has a golden brown colour all round.
4. Add the white wine to deglaze and reduce until the liquid evaporates. Now add your green sauce just to cover the meat, topping up with a little chicken stock if necessary, bring to the boil then turn down to the lowest heat immediately leaving to gently simmer for around 5 hours.
Now return to the pasta…
5. Once the pasta is back at room temperature, use a rolling pin to roll out the pasta until about 1 cm thick and can comfortably pass through the pasta machine. Continue passing the dough through the machine reducing the thickness setting until you have a sheet of pasta about as thick as a 5 pence piece.
6. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and lay your pasta sheet out. Using a sharp knife cut your pasta in to ribbons 3 cm wide and 15 to 20 cm long. Dust lightly with flour and set aside to use.
7. The lamb should be falling off the bone, leave to cool in the cooking liquid to avoid drying out. Pull the meat off the bone using your hands and discard the bone (check for small fragments) flake the meat and return it to the cooking liquid and warm through on a low to medium heat.
8. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil adding your pappardelle one by one stirring as you go to avoid sticking together and after about 2 and a half minutes your pasta should be ready (remove one to test) remove your pasta using tongs and add to the ragu add olive oil and a little cooking water from the pasta or chicken stock to achieve the right consistency and serve.
Tavolino Bar & Kitchen – 2 More London Riverside, Southwark, SE1 2DB