Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, Blackfriars, London Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, Blackfriars, London

Tucked away just beside Blackfriars Bridge, a stone’s throw from Tate Modern, the décor of the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen is inspired by its neighbourhood. You’ll find art all over – on the walls, over the upholstery, on the floor and there’s even an Artist in Residence studio across the yard. And, of course all the dishes sit on specially designed crockery, ingredients tastefully arranged to be easy on the eye.

It’s a beautiful sunny evening as we make our way across Blackfriars Bridge and then divert off the river walk to find the Bankside Hotel. It’s slightly hidden by the surrounding office buildings and the restaurant is situated at the rear, with its own patio. It’s tempting to sit outside but that would be to miss the extraordinary interior design.

Certainly not your average hotel restaurant, geometric tiles draw you to the floor, specially commissioned artworks hang on the walls, with wood and soft upholstery nurturing the acoustics. It’s a pleasant space, music kept to the minimum and service brisk and attentive.

I spy a wood burning oven in the kitchen and the menu has a Mediterranean feel to it. It’s divided into nibbles, small bites and mains with an additional section for Pizzette, diminutive pizzas. Chef Sofiane Kaced is from Cannes, in the South of France, but has decades of experience in luxury hotels and establishments across London. He offers to put together a selection of nibbles to get us going.

First up is Beetroot Crudité Garden, raw vegetables dipped into soft beetroot humus. Fresh and crispy, it’s a good introduction to his style of food. There are also Chorizo Croquettes with Romanesco Sauce and British Pea Arancini with Pea Purée and Parmesan. Both of these can often be bland, insipid and often greasy. Fortunately these are the opposite, in particular the chorizo in the Croquettes gives them a strong burst of flavour. The Arancini are also good, crisp, delicate and cheesy.

Next we share the Burrata with Heirloom Tomato and Grapefruit Dressing and order The Epi Bread Palette. This is almost a meal on its own –freshly baked rolls come with whipped butter, tapenade, olive oil & balsamic plus fresh pesto. It makes a great pairing with the gloriously fresh Burrata. The small heirloom cherry tomatoes are a nice touch and the grapefruit adds an imaginative acidic counterpoint.

Sirloin Steak

For mains, my partner goes for the Sirloin Steak Tagliata Style with Parmesan, Rocket and Chimichurri. So far we’ve remarked on the quality of the ingredients and the meat is lives up to expectations. Thickly sliced on the plate, with a topping of tangy chimichurri, it’s perfectly cooked. A side of French beans, very al-dente, makes a good companion.

Wood-Fired Bass

I’m a fish man so choose the Wood-Fired Bass with Clams, Samphire, Grilled Red Pepper and Basil Leaves. It’s a hefty chunk of fish and I like the accompanying saltiness of the clams and samphire. The red pepper slightly intrudes on the delicacy of the dish but gives it a kick and a good splodge of colour.

Tarte Tatin

So to desserts. We can’t’ resist ordering the Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream and it’s glorious. The apple, meltingly soft, sitting on top of a firm pastry base, one of the best I’ve had in a long while. As an afterthought there’s an Art Palette a selection of mini desserts which include the Art Yard Berry Sundae, Lemon Meringue Tart and Chocolate Lava Cake.  All are good but it’s hard to top the Tarte Tatin.

Art Palette

Restaurants in hotels are often difficult beasts, having to serve all things to all people at all hours of the day. What makes the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen different is the sheer quality of the cooking using only the very best ingredients. It’s also an attractive space, understated but with enough art to engage you throughout. Special mention should also be made of their imaginative wine list at decent prices. Definitely a place worth seeking out.

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen

Bankside Hotel

2 Blackfriars Road

Upper Ground, London,


+44 20 3943 2020

[email protected]

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