Up until a few days ago, I had never been to the River Café. I have lived in London for eight years, and while I have always wanted to go, I have also simultaneously not wanted to go either, a dichotomy I equated to being engulfed in a flirtatious but non-committal affair. The part of me that wanted to go, wanted to do so because I wanted to find out what all the fuss over the River Café is about. The fuss being that it has a Michelin-star; that much has been made in the British press about how influential Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, the founders of the River Café, have been in the British restaurant scene during the last 20 years; that these two ladies are responsible for churning out the likes of celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, etc. As for the part of me that didn’t want to go, well that was because I couldn’t rationalise how such seemingly simple Italian food could warrant the expense of mains that come close to £30, no matter how fresh and seasonal the produce is.
But their current lunch special of £24 for three courses (available until 9 April 2009) was simply a pickup line too good to pass up. And so, I set aside all doubts and uncertainties and finally took the plunge, to make my way to the River Café. No more sitting on the fence – it was decision time to see whether my mild infatuation would turn into a full blown love affair.