On a sunny summer day when my mother-in-law (MIL) was visiting from Sydney, we went into central London for the day to see some of the sites and enjoy the lovely weather.
At lunch time we found ourselves at Tower Bridge and Alex came up with the brilliant idea to go to St Katherine's Dock for some food - the perfect place to take the MIL as it is pretty, interesting and something a little different.
The Dickens Inn seemed to beckon us with its flower covered exterior, so we checked out the menus of its two restaurants and decide on the top floor 'Grill on the Dock'.
We were given a friendly greeting and seated on a nice table on the balcony, overlooking the dock.
Favorite Dish: The food was ok - not amazing, but entirely edible. My MIL and I had the Deep Fried Cod Fillet in lime batter with minted mushy peas and chunky chips, and Alex had the Salmon, Prawn & Rocket fish cakes with chips. The Cod was the right choice and the peas were particularly tasty.
We washed it down with an icy bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
I would recommend it as a nice place for lunch on a summery day.
What can be better than dinner with the two top ranking VT members for London? Honestly speaking, not much ...
So one dark and rainy evening in Feburary 2007 we chose the Dickens Inn as the place to get our bellies filled. The building dates back to the 18th century when it was originally a spice warehouse. After massive renovations it opened as Dickens Inn in 1976. It is home to three different restaurants.
Eventually we decided for the "Pizza on the Dock" on one of the upper floors. The wooden interior is flanked by small balconies facing St Katharine's Dock. We opted for the Vegetarian and Toscana Pizza and shared them by three. The pizzas were delicious and reasonably priced.
After we had finished our meal we headed off to the nearest tube station and I was really surprised that I almost got lost, even though I was in company of the two top ranked VT members for London.
St. Katherine’s Dock is a fantastic part of London’s East – an old dock area which is now renovated and turned into appartments and little shops (and.. one Starbucks, unfortunately). It is only some minutes away from Tower and Tower Bridge and a really quiet heaven away from the crowds. Among the many shops and restaurants, Dickens’ Inn is an old tea-warehouse which has been converted into several restaurants. While I was strolling around here and got hungry, I decided to get some Italian meals at the Pizza On The Dock, which is located on the first floor. They had free tables on the balcony, which is overlooking part of the marina. The menu does not contain many dishes, but this means that everything is freshly made. Even if I only had cold dishes, I saw what the other guests had and all looked excellent.
Well, it was easy for me to decide, as they had a meat carpaccio on the menue (for 5,95 £ only, way cheaper than I could get it here in “my” rural Darmstadt). It was fantastic, extremely thin as it should be! Next I had a rucola and parmigiano salad, which was equally excellent (4,95 £). And given the tastiness of my dishes, I could not resist to have a desert as well: torta di fromaggio (mascarpone and lemon cheesecake with berry sauce for 4,65 £). I was not rushed at all, got a huge glass of tap water and had two Caffe Latte (2,75 £ each).
Favorite Dish: In addition to the tables on the balcony they have a huge room inside with many tables. It would make a nice place for one of the next famous London VT meets! Yes, I can highly recommend it and I will definitely come back to try more on my next trip to London.
The other restaurant/bar options in Dickens’ Inn are: Tavern Bar (ground floor, pub where only drinks are served), Copperfield Snack Bar (ground floor, snacks only), Grill-On-The-Dock (restaurant with mixed dishes).
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
I had been a couple of times at the Beer Garden and after a pint of Stout had opened my appetite, and there was still sunshine on the balconies (7 pm in August), I decided to make a try.
I was well aware that due to its location this is a touristy restaurant with only 52% recommendations from the 44 TA reviews, some saying "terrible"!
But on the grill restaurant (upper floor) menu I read they had:
"Chargrilled 28 Day Matured Rib-Eye Steak £18.95
An 8oz English rib-eye steak cooked to your liking, with home made onion rings, chunky chips, mushroom & tomato."
At home I usually grill Rib-Eye Steak because this somewhat fat meat tastes best on the barbecue. I was intrigued by the 28 Day Matured which I don't find in my usual shops.
So that I went up to the second floor, I asked for a table on the balcony and got it immediately although I was alone. Waiter was OK, he understood that I wanted what in French we call a steak "saignant" (bleeding) and translated by "rare"; I had forgotten the word.
I had to wait a quarter of an hour to get my steak; there was a large party of tourists in the main room.
Cooking and taste were fine (like at home!) but I didn't find the advantage of the 28 day maturing. The chips were typical British, thick and not crusty (I did not expect Belgian frites!).
I had ordered a glass of red wine Rioja Crianza which was low in quality, a further Pinot Noir from France was better.
To conclude satisfactory; good if you are sitting on the balcony.
Located on St. Katharine's Docks in East London, The Dickens Inn was originally a 19th century spice warehouse and now serves as a lovely dine-in resteraunt. It offers a great view of the nearby harbor and provides a very nice, middle-class English atmosphere. Excellent food and pretty little surroundings. A joy to visit!
Favorite Dish: Fish and chips with mushy peas. A very traditional English meal. Hearty portions. Perfect with a bit of malt vinegar.
The Dickens Inn is a tavern, traditional English Pub, pizzaria and grill, beer garden and inn. The buiding was constructed as a warehouse for spices in 1799. Much of the original wood is still part of the present inn. Over the years the building was converted into a spacious three stories inn.
Mo-Sa: 11AM - 11PM
Su: Noon - 10.30PM
Doesn't have the best food or drink in London and is not the cheapest place but the setting in St Katherine's Dock and the building itself are very pleasant.