Having tickets to see Juno and the Paycock at the National Theatre, my friends and I decided to have a pre-theatre meal at the Skylon restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Royal Festival Hall. First and foremost, the location is nice. We were seated by the window to appreciate the view over the Thames. That was about as good as it got however. The food was at best pedestrian.
For my main course I ordered the sea bass. The fish itself was limp and overcooked. It was served with anchovies and potatoes. It’s not that there was anything particularly wrong about the plate, more that there was nothing particularly right about it. The overall impression was that I could, with ease, have cooked a better plate myself.
One of my friends selected the fish cake with salad and tartar sauce. It was a big cake but certainly did not stand out as being particularly innovative or interesting. It was edible, but boring. It tasted fishy but I could neither discern the salmon nor haddock flavours in the cake. It was just unimaginative.
The other party at the table made do with a vegetarian pasta dish, which left such little impression that I don’t have anything to say about it for better or worse.
Desserts were slightly better. The passion fruit cheese cake served with a spoon of passion fruit sorbet was edible. I tasted the sorbet and it was nice. I ordered the crème brulee which was served with two small Madeline’s. The Madeline’s lacked that light texture one appreciates in a good Madeline, while the crème brulee lacked that velvet consistency which a good brulee should have. Indeed, it was quite bitty as though it had not been mixed sufficiently in preparation. The final dessert was the best. It was a crème caramel with mango sorbet and it awakened the taste buds at this stage deadened by the level of mediocrity on offer.
The bill amounted to £83 for two courses for three people along with two coffees and two bottles of water. The water was charged at £4 per bottle. I didn’t get the impression it had been bottled by mermaids hence necessitating such a pricing structure. We would have ended up with more money in our pocket and better quality food had we just gone to Wagamama’s down the road. Fortunately, the quality on offer at the theatre was substantially greater than the Skylon.