No trip to London would be complete without a visit to the Tate Modern, one of the world’s biggest museums for modern art.
Since opening in 2000, the former power station has attracted more than 40 million people with its permanent collection and spectacular exhibitions.
In June this year, it unveiled a new £260m building called the Switch House, which twists up ten storeys like a pyramid next to the iconic 1950s landmark. But it’s not only about the art. In addition to 60 per cent more display space to enjoy, there are also new areas to meet, eat, drink and relax in, including a new sky-high restaurant wrapped around the ninth floor.
Designed by the museum’s original architects Herzog & de Meuron, the Switch House’s simply-named Tate Modern Restaurant is so minimal in its décor it is almost like a blank canvas itself. With its smooth concrete pillars, exposed light bulbs and raw oak surfaces, it is not unlike the art gallery beneath it. But don’t expect to see a Tracy Emin or Damien Hirst hanging from its walls anytime soon. The real masterpieces here are the food and panoramic views.
Begin your meal with an aperitif of white port and tonic at the bar, if you can, where high stools provide the best spot to take in the sights below. Those without a head for heights will be relieved to know that once seated at the dining tables, the view is largely obscured by the high-backed banquettes, allowing all attention to be directed towards the food.
Simple starters of pork croquettes and chalk stream trout were intricately presented. The croquettes were elegantly seasoned and the fish was succulent and cleverly paired with roasted onion, white asparagus and British favourite pea puree, otherwise known as mushy peas. For mains, we were impressed by the tenderness of the lamb rump, flanked by a rainbow of heritage vegetables, and the freshness of the lemon sole in burnt lemon butter. For dessert, it has to be the chocolate and hazelnut delice with passion fruit sorbet—an Instagramers delight.
As you’d expect from a restaurant in an art gallery, the food here is as pretty as a picture but it also happens to taste very good. Like the best paintings, the art of the Tate Modern Restaurant is in the details, from the bespoke earthenware to the organic wines. Oh, and that view – only when you stand up, that is!