River View

By the Munching Mariner (published in East End Life, 4th May)

The River View is an elegant, comfortable Chinese restaurant in Wapping, nestled (as you might expect) against the Thames with great views of the river, Rotherhithe on the far side and Canary Wharf in the distance.  A great location for the Munching Mariner!  Possibly even better in the summer, when seating is extended to the terrace.

My Thirst Mate and I booked for a Thursday at 8.30pm.  I asked for a table by the window and it was noted for our arrival.  Our waitress, who attended to us all evening, offered to take our coats and guided us to our seats.  She promptly presented complimentary prawn crackers and left us sufficient time to choose our meals.  The service was attentive, but unobtrusive.

 

The River View

The River View

The menu (Peking & Cantonese Cuisine) is broad: plenty of choice under all the main headings.  There are also three set menus, beginning at £20.50pp.

My Thirst Mate and I ordered separate starters, but ended up sharing.  We ordered grilled dumplings and lettuce wrapped minced chicken.  The dumplings had a good texture with just the right level of spice.  The minced chicken was a new experience for us both, and a slightly messy one for me; the meat comes separately from the lettuce and is packed in with a spoon before being eaten by hand.  Awkward, but very tasty!

For mains, she ordered chicken with cashew nuts in yellow bean sauce and I opted for sliced beef with satay sauce (both with rice).  They were both enjoyable, though perhaps the yellow bean sauce was slightly dry; we both preferred the beef.

We debated dessert before sharing a 3-scoop sorbet which impressed us both.

Our bill came to £57.90 including a bottle of house wine and service.  If we had made it between 6-8pm, we could have taken the Early Bird option: a three course set menu including a glass of wine for £14.80pp.  View the main menu at www.riverview-restaurant.com.

The River View is at New Crane Wharf in Wapping, E1W 3TU.  Wapping station is closed, but the restaurant is served by the D3 and 100 bus routes.  Telephone 7480 6026.

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The Milestone

By the Munching Mariner (published in East End Life, 16th March)

The Milestone is a trendy gastro-bar a stone’s throw to the right out of Mile End station.  It’s clean and comfortable, with a row of hookah pipes on the side. I’ve been in a few times for a drink and it’s been surprisingly quiet so close to such a busy station. I always wondered why, but the landlord expressed such great enthusiasm for his chef’s food that I felt compelled to try it.

 

The Milestone
The Milestone

I popped in with my Thirst Mate on a Thursday evening and we had our choice of tables. The only other customers were a group of students who – despite knocking back mostly soft drinks – gradually became more raucous as the evening wore on. Another couple arrived later for a meal and then a trio of young men propped up the bar.

The Milestone specialises in “traditional Indian dishes cooked in a modern way”. All the favourites are on the menu though naan bread is conspicuous by its absence (chapatti and parantha take its place). There are a few surprises too; fish and chips among them. The Thirst Mate went for lentil soup followed by chicken bhuna and steamed rice. I chose lamb samosas then chicken dhansak with pilau rice.

The meals arrived within the promised fifteen minutes. It was plentiful and delicious, though the lentil soup was more like stew. We told the barman how much we enjoyed it, but he retorted with an apology: the regular chef was off and his cooking must be tasted to be believed. The service was a little scatty but well-intentioned: the starters and mains arrived at the same time, we had to request cutlery and our drinks arrived after some delay. On the plus side, the manager took an interest in us and was chatty but unobtrusive.

The Milestone has potential. The food and atmosphere were good, but it was still fairly empty. In mitigation, previous incarnations of the establishment were hideous and the new look is hidden out of sight of the nearby tube station. There are no disabled toilet facilities. Our bill came to £31.60 including a beer each.

The Milestone is at 588 Mile End Road, E3 4PH. Telephone 020 8981 4100.