If not already sold on the view then the bar, where a Grand Piano plays classic jazz songs, may help. The bar area is roomy and staff are in abundance, and never without a warm smile.
Then onto the restaurant; a long cruise liner shaped room is large and yet still warm and inviting. Large circular tables run down the centre of the restaurant, banquette seating runs down the back wall and warmly lit tables for 2 sit by the window.
The a la carte menu offers a strong selection of seafood, including a Plateau de Fruits de Mer available with or without lobster. The new Tasting Menu, a creation of Head Chef Tom Cook is definitely worth a try, priced at £50 per person or £85 with paired wine.
With his impressive CV including stints working alongside Gary Rhodes, Michel Roux Jr and later landing the role of Head Chef at Restaurant Tom Aikens, I had anticipated something rather special.
The menu at Le Pont de la Tour, I’m told, is inspired by a book written 20 years ago detailing the vision for the restaurant by original founder Sir Terrace Conran.
While the menu inherits some classic French ingredients and ideas, Cook has quite successfully created a contemporary and exciting collection of dishes.
An amuse bouche of White bean velouté with black pudding was rich and creamy and a satisfying start to the meal. Next came Salad of Dorset Crab with Saffron Panna Cotta, Avocado and Melba Toast. We were instructed by the waiter to eat the 3 items separately, starting with the crab and working our way along.
This is a light dish that was slightly lost after such a flavoursome predecessor. Its accompanying wine, however – Chablis Jean Defaix – is a delicious, crisp white that paired well with the crab.
Pan-fried Foie Gras was served with braised chicory and a sweet and sharp red wine sauce that cut though the creamy texture.
Loin of Yorkshire venison, braised salsify and beetroot, sautéed Brussel sprouts, cocoa & game jus was an absolute delight – the venison was served incredibly moist and pink.
An accompanying Côtes de Bordeaux could have been made especially for the dish; a deep and oaky wine that demanded meat such as venison to reach its full potential.
And finally dessert: Valrhona milk chocolate mousse with dark chocolate crumble and salted caramel ice cream isn’t as rich as it sounds and is best enjoyed when combining all 3 components at once, or better still washed down with a glass of Graham’s ‘Six Grapes’ Port.
It can’t go without saying that the service at Le Pont de la Tour is at worst overly attentive; you really do receive excellent service.
For the warmer months Le Pont de la Tour has an extensive alfresco dining area along the waterfront that looks ever so inviting.