The Art Yard restaurant is one of those glorious foodie havens nestled away in a hotel and reasonably hidden from foot flow. Yet once you discover the culinary gems created there, you’ll feel you’ve discovered one of London’s best kept secrets.
Having heard murmurs of its excellence, my wife and I decided to venture into this renowned eatery, anticipating a gastronomic adventure. And what an adventure it was. From the moment we stepped into the Art Yard at the Bankside Hotel, it was clear that this wasn’t just a restaurant, but a space where art and cuisine blend seamlessly. The decor pays homage to Bankside’s rich artistic history, with contemporary pieces adorning the walls and sculptural fixtures casting soft, ambient lighting.
Each table felt intimate, creating a cocoon of privacy amidst a vibrant dining space, and the large glass windows bathed the space in natural light. Settling into our seats, we were handed the menu – a delightful assortment of dishes, each sounding more tempting than the last. There’s a clear focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and authenticity.
For starters, we opted for a pleasing plethora of sharing small plates. The Roasted Squash Salad adorned with radicchio, kale and creamy goats cheese was a true flavour sensation and the Burrata perched around sexy slices of heirloom tomatoes and drizzled in a grapefruit dressing was a true joy to savour. We were also rather enamoured with the truffled mac n cheese, anchovy-heavy tuna Niçoise salad and the melt in the mouth tuna tartare.
As we moved onto our mains, the Art Yard’s gastronomic prowess became even more evident. My wife’s sirloin steak served tagliata style on a bed of rocket and lovingly laced with parmesan flakes and chimichurri was a truly wonderful dish. My choice, the pan-seared salmon with pea puree, green asparagus and lemon, was a testament to the chef’s expertise. The fish was cooked to perfection, its skin crispy and flesh flaky, while the greens added a delicate freshness. The dessert, however, was the truffle stars of the show.
The Art Yard Berry Sundae was a glorious concoction of cream, fruit and ice cream, bringing back fond childhood memories with every bite. The Art Yard Art Palatte was also a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds with a selection of pretty mini deserts accompanied merely with a coffee of your choice. Each bite was a journey of textures and flavors, culminating in a sweet crescendo that was responsible for breaking my sugar ban.
Exceptional food deserves to be paired with exceptional service, and the Art Yard excelled in this realm too. Our server, attentive without being intrusive, guided us through the menu with insightful recommendations. There was an evident passion for the dishes they served, and their knowledge of the ingredients and preparation methods added depth to our dining experience. Moreover, we were pleasantly surprised when the chef made a brief appearance, checking on guests and ensuring everyone was enjoying their meal. It’s these personal touches that truly elevate a dining experience.
Our afternoon at the Art Yard was not just about food; it was a holistic experience. The melding of art with culinary expertise, coupled with impeccable service, made it an evening to remember. In the crowded landscape of London’s eateries, the Art Yard stands out not just for its food, but for its commitment to offering guests an experience encompassing all the senses.