There’s something special about dining by the water, be it a beach-side restaurant, a pool-side café, or a sandwich at the edge of a pier, feet dangling in the water. What about adding a panoramic view of the London skyline and a tranquil setting on the Tower of London wharf? Well, that’s what you can expect at The Glass Rooms.
Popping up alongside the River Thames until September, The Glass Rooms promises a spectacular dining experience for up to six people in exclusive, private glass dining pods. Each has its own speaker system, so whether you’ve got the perfect dinner soundtrack ready and waiting to go, or you’d rather listen to one of the curated selections, the choice is yours. Alternatively, enjoy the oddly serene surroundings (especially in the evening) – a rare feat in central London – as you admire Tower Bridge and The Shard, and boats as they sail by. The whole affair is part of a collaboration with Tower of London’s Superbloom – which is clearly demonstrated by the charming foliage and low-hanging lights in each pod.
If you’re heading down from Tower Hill station, make a beeline straight for the river. You’ll pass St Katherine’s Dock on your left (stride past; don’t enter the area), plus the likes of Tesco, and other shops. As you approach the river bank, you’ll see the gated entry into the Tower of London wharf and the glorious pods. The staff at The Glass Rooms are so personable; their positive energy sets the tone for your evening ahead.
Food and drink at The Glass Rooms
Whether you opt for two or three courses, the menu offers up a seasonal, evolving selection of food that takes inspiration from British growers and farmers. Delightfully warm bread and butter will grace the table as you decide what you’d like: to start, we opted to try the Beefeater gin-cured salmon, with English cucumber and dill yoghurt; and the London burrata, dressed with Evesham tomatoes, salmarejo and marigold. The former was a harmony of refreshing flavours, while the latter, indulgently creamy. Both were presented beautifully too – and it’s true, many of us eat with our eyes.
Next comes the mains, our favourite course. The grilled sea bream was light, with the skin perfectly crisped, creating a fabulous texture contrast with the crushed Jersey royal potatoes. Employing exciting texture contrasts is clearly a skill of The Glass Rooms’ chefs, as the English pea tortellini had the same effect, with the pea shoots and pretty parmesan crisp adding to both the look and experience.
To conclude, there are two sweet dessert options, alongside a selection of cheese. The chocolate parfait, topped with crushed pistachios, is absolutely delicious: sweet but not too sweet, with tart cherries to compliment. Meanwhile, the spoon glides smoothly through the indulgent panna cotta, balancing flavours of sweet vanilla and sharp strawberries. A fabulous closing to the meal.
The drinks menu is comprehensive, covering cocktails, wine, champagne, and much more. We opted to start our meal with a lovely lychee martini, before pairing our dinner with the staff’s recommended Coates and Seeley sparkling rosé – not too sweet, yet not too dry, it accentuated the dishes well.
A commitment to sustainability
It’s not just a pretty restaurant, though, as The Glass Rooms’ staff are dedicated to sustainability by sourcing their food locally, responsibly, and seasonally. They’re also determined to eradicate food waste, and reuse and recycle as much as they can. Their actions even got the pop-up pods (pod-up?) a top-marks three star rating from the Sustainable Restaurants Association. Delicious food, an exclusive dining experience, and it’s good for the planet!
For those worried about sitting in a glass pod underneath the summer sun, fret not. The 150-year-old London Plane trees dotting the wharf provide a natural sun canopy, stopping the pods from turning into greenhouses. Additionally, a ceiling window allows the riverside breeze to filter in – nature’s own air-conditioning. Each evening brings a different type of crowd, from the city folk to tourists, friends to romantic dates (and many proposals!), so no matter your occasion, get pre-booking and head down before they’re gone!