Although I don't really agree with their byline "understated, yet unmistakably luxurious",
Pont de la Tour does have the most impressive views over the river and Tower Bridge, especially spectacular at night time. Sitting on the terrace on a warm summer's day must be equally charming.
We had no such luck, even though exceptionally mild for the season, it was rainy and miserable the night we went there to meet Lara (& husband) of cook & eat one evening in late November. Our table in the casual bar area of the restaurant was a bit of a nightmare for a goup of eight, the accoustics were exceptionally bad, making conversation somewhat difficult - not helped by a (very good) pianist/singer who saw us through the night with quite unusual interpretations of songs old and new. The other drawback in the bar area is the smoking - I have learnt to accept it in bars (and therefore don't go to bars anymore) but people puffing on their cigarettes while I try to enjoy my dinner is really something I cannot and won't get used to. I hope we'll soon see a ban introduced in England as well.
As is custom for a foodblogger evening out, we took ages to decide on our food - despite everybody opting for the Menu du Marché, which is excellent value at £12.50 for 2 and £14.95 for 3 courses. I do think we managed to sample almost all of the dishes. For starters, most of us chose the roast pumpkin and rocket salad with raisins and parmesan, a dish which sounded lovely and seasonal, but turned out rather bland in my opinion: thin slivers of whole-roasted pumpkin were not even at room temperature, but cold, how lovely could this have been if it were served as chunks of warm garlic-infused squash... it also showed no signs of seasoning, the rocket leaves were barely dressed, for which the balsamico drizzle on the parmesan shavings just couldn't make up.
It is a well-known fact that I sometimes make exceptionally bad choices in restaurants - not that I would order a beef wellington in a seafood restaurant or anything like that, but I do tend to take the short straw rather too often for my liking. Just what happened with my main course. I went for the pan-fried cod with seafood sauce (sic, if I remember correctly) - with the cod a rather young specimen, thus looking more like a fillet of seabass than a chunky and juicy piece of cod, and it was definitely cooked to within an inch of its life... the sauce looked rather unappetisingly like a curry sauce and didn't really do the dish any favours. The fish was sitting on a very tasty pile of spinach, though, so thumbs up for that.
I just wish I had chosen Jeanne's perfectly rich and succulent confit de canard (although I thought the accompanying turnips were an odd choice) or Xochi's juicy and tasty chicken breast with a rather decent potato gratin!
For desserts, I was off the mark again - and I thought chocolate was a safe choice and my petit pot au chocolat, topped with a puddle of single cream and served with slightly chewy mini-madeleines, was edible, but not much more than that. Again, I should have chosen the divine gratin of fresh figs in an eau-de-vie sabayon...
All in all, though, at this price, I am not overly dissapointed, although I would have expected a better quality of my fish dish given that seafood is the focal point of their bistro offering... and there'll have to be a good reason for me to come back - glorious weather and friends to impress with fantastic views of Tower Bridge would just be the right excuse for me!
Le Pont de la Tour
The Butlers Wharf Building
36d Shad Thames
London SE1 2YE
Tel: 020 7403 8403
Public transport: Tower Hill (Circle, District) or London Bridge (Jubilee, BR)