Food, glorious food..and a nice view too!
It’s not every day you get to see the sights of London from the water, so we were really excited when we were invited on the Thames Dinner Cruise experience.
After a busy day in the Into the Blue HQ, a small select group of ITB staffers got changed into our glad-rags and headed into the big smoke for our evening cruise.
On arriving at the Embankment Pier, the first thing that you remark on is the size of the boat. It’s one of those big, flat-looking boats, with glass windows all around, giving you full panoramic views. Once we climbed aboard, we were greeted by the team who immediately presented us with a welcome drink and, as if out of no-where, an official photographer appeared to take our group picture, which we thought was a really nice touch.
After being led to our table, we were handed the menus. The great thing about these Thames Dinner Cruises is that the menu is a la carte, so no need to book in advance (unless you’re a big group) and all the food is freshly prepared onboard the boat, with a team of nine chefs working in the ship’s kitchens to conjure up some really rather tasty food.
The style is definitely modern British and the head chef is keen to locally source fresh products wherever possible. Indeed, we thought the Peppered British Beef starter with horseradish cream and port syrup was, as they say, to die for. A little gin and tonic sorbet in to freshen the palate and then we followed that with Scottish fillet of cod with roasted garlic mash, spinach and Norfolk marsh samphire, which was melt-in-your-mouth gorgeous. And all this whilst cruising past some of the most famous sights on the Thames as the sun was slowly setting.
Of course, we were very careful to leave room for dessert and we had to go quintessentially English with a summer fruits pudding served with clotted Devonshire cream. Note to self : must renew that gym membership. The dinner was rounded off with coffees and teas. By this time the sun had set and it was time to sit back and relax, being gently entertained by the live music courtesy of a very good female singer and accompanied by a guitarist.
As we headed past Tower Bridge towards the Houses of Parliament, we had an extra little surprise – the boat does a full 360 degrees turn in the middle of the Thames! We really can’t describe it to you as it’s one of those ‘you have to be there’ moments, but you feel you are almost dancing gracefully on the Thames with the music, the soft lighting, the twinkling lights of the south bank, the floodlit buildings…utter bliss. No wonder there are so many marriage proposals made on board. And if you’re wondering (like were were) no-one has ever said no… as yet!
Thoroughly well fed and watered, we returned to the Embankment pier at around 22:45. Once again the crew were there to wish us farewell and we have to say, it’s the little touches like that which make this gourmet trip on the Thames really quite special.