Published on January 9th, 2013 | by Gary Robinson
Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, London, SE1 8XX
Simple and elegant dining at Skylon
Skylon is nestled on the middle floor of the Royal Festival Hall on the ever-evolving cultural Southbank. The restaurant can be accessed through the Royal Festival Hall or via their private entrance opposite Hungerford Bridge, and is popular with locals, tourists and Southbank members alike. Skylon’s a stylish restaurant, with a ‘glass wall’ along one side reminiscent of Hong Kong. It offers a choice of two dining areas split by a stunning cocktail bar in the centre. The glass wall offers spectacular panoramic views across the River Thames onto the northern bank of London.
As a regular at Skylon I have always found the staff polite and attentive (they also all wear subtle grey uniforms that in my view, have a hint of Thunderbirds about them). Typically we would sit at the bar – which is a destination in its own right – and enjoy some of the finest and most consistent cocktails in London, followed by a bite to eat in the more informal ‘grill’ dining area. However tonight was a special occasion so we opted for champagne at the table, followed by a la carte, in the slightly more formal restaurant area.
Helena Puolakka at Skylon
Skylon’s head chef Helena Puolakka offers a beautifully simple menu, with a handful of choices for starters and mains, drawing on her classical French training as well as her childhood in Finland. For starters we ordered the crab, which was served with green leaves and three crispy wafers. The crab was plentiful and full of flavour, while remaining light and delicate. We also had scallops, which were equally tasty, offering a fuller richer flavour. For mains, we ordered the Châteaubriand for two, which to our delight was carved at the table. It was cooked exactly as it should be and served with green beans and mushrooms in a tasty sauce. Our sommelier had recommended a bottle of the St Emilion, which complimented the meat perfectly.
To round the evening off we ordered the cheesecake, which looked like a work of art when it was served, along with the recommended desert wine…. and took the opportunity to languish in the food, the view and the ambiance. Skylon’s a lovely place to loose yourself in, whether you’re sat at the bar or at a table. The view, lighting and chic but relaxed environment can transport your imagination to a number of different places, which is one of the reasons why we keep going back.
Royal Festival Hall
020 7654 7800
We spent: £100 p.p.
Nearest tube: Waterloo
Summary: While more of a regular for us, rather than a destination, Skylon is a stylish restaurant with wonderful views over the River Thames. It offers simple dishes along with one of the best cocktail bars in London. What more could you ask for?