SPOT­LIGHT ON The river Cafe

As the world fa­mous Miche­lin-starred River Cafe cel­e­brates 30 years in busi­ness, here are 15 things you ought to know about the Ital­ian restau­rant and its cel­e­bra­tory new cook­book, River Cafe 30...

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - FOOD & DRINK -

1 River Cafe 30’s pages are edged lu­mi­nous pink, to match the restau­rant’s pizza oven. “We wanted to make a book that re­flected not just the food we cook, but also the restau­rant we have – the bright colours, the clear graph­ics,” says co-founder and chef Ruth Rogers, 69.

2 Writ­ing the book was a joint ef­fort – by Ruth, River Cafe head chefs Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Triv­elli. The late Rose Gray, River Cafe’s co-founder, is also cred­ited.

3 Ruth calls the book a trib­ute to her part­ner of many years, Rose, who died from cancer in 2010. The pair met in 1969, and started The River Cafe in 1987.

4 The day the duo first saw the site that would be­come The River Cafe, they met at Drum­monds in the Kings Road, which today is a Mcdon­ald’s. Ruth said: “You could say that The River Cafe was ac­tu­ally con­ceived in a Mc­don­alds.”

5 River Cafe 30 owes a lot to Ruth and Rose’s de­but cook­book. Ruth said: “We re­vis­ited the Blue book, the one we wrote in 1994. We thought, 25 years later, ‘how have these recipes changed?’ Or, ‘could we adapt them?’”

6 “Some of them are just per­fect the way they were,” said Ruth, like the pressed choco­late cake and ri­cotta al forno.

7 Oth­ers take into ac­count new cook­ing tech­niques and chang­ing tastes. “There’s a new recipe for a hard pasta called mezze pac­cheri with lan­gous­tine and with pecorino – that’s so un­usual to have a fish pasta with cheese,” said Ruth.

8 And some are ridicu­lously sim­ple – like the blood or­ange sor­bet with only three in­gre­di­ents.

9 Turn straight to page 311 for ‘the crown­ing recipe’: “The choco­late neme­sis,” said Ruth. “It’s such a strong flavour, the in­ten­sity of the choco­late. It’s creamy with­out cream. You put it in your mouth and it just melts.”

10 Flick through and you’ll find menus il­lus­trated by fa­mous names. Ruth said: “We ap­proached artists who re­ally have a close re­la­tion­ship with the restau­rant and gave them the menus to do what­ever they wanted with.” 11 Dis­cover doo­dles by Cy Twombly, Damien Hirst and Ellsworth Kelly.

12 The restau­rant cel­e­brated turn­ing 30 with a huge party, fea­tur­ing 1,000 guests and a Fer­ris wheel.

13 Chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearn­ley-Whit­tingstall, Theo Ran­dall and April Bloom­field are all River Cafe alumni.

14 The restau­rant has one of the best views of the Thames.

15 Ruth said: “We’ve cre­ated a restau­rant with val­ues that peo­ple love.”

river Cafe 30 by ruth rogers, sian wyn owen and Joseph Triv­elli is pub­lished by ebury Press, priced £28

Chef and co-founder Ruth Rogers and left with head chefs Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Triv­elli

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