Mark Bibby Jackson reviews the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, Bankside Hotel, Autograph Collection, and discovers a comforting and refreshing experience.

There was a time you would never consider eating in a hotel restaurant, especially in a city such as London with so many excellent dining options. But times are a changing, and hotel restaurants are no longer necessarily the staid affairs they used to be, although there still is an unhealthy obsession with chains.

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen London

The Art Yard Bar & Kitchen in the Bankside Hotel, Autograph Collection is a case in point.

The hotel opened in 2018, but this was my first visit. My first impression was favourable. Art drizzles from the walls in a pleasantly eclectic manner. The intention behind both Art Yard and hotel was to create an “art school without the dust”, reflecting the dynamic nature of the cultural and artistic scene in London’s South bank. This it has created.

Artyard bar & Kitchen
Chef Lana Sofiane (right) with former artist in resident Lana Matsuyama (left)

However, comfort has not been sacrificed to design. Our stylish chairs invited us to linger, a sentiment that was echoed by the amazing staff, who struck the ideal balance between hospitality and efficiency. This made for the ideal opportunity to catch up with a friend I had not seen for a while.

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen Winter Menu

The occasion marked the unveiling of the restaurant’s new winter menu from executive chef Sofiane Kaced which wove British ingredients with art-inspired design. Kaced has worked in many establishments in London and the Middle East, including the Royal Opera House and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill in Mayfair.

To start, I had the burrata with heirloom tomatoes, while my companion tried the beetroot and avocado tartare. My dish oozed with creaminess just as it should, while my guest said her dish was light and flavoursome. This we accompanied with the epi bread palette which was an interesting take on the traditional bread and dips.

My companion followed with the Roscoff onion tart tatin with plant-based burrata for her main. This enabled us to compare the vegan and the real burrata. In truth, I could tell little difference between the two dishes – perhaps the vegan version had a nuttier texture. It is certainly a perfectly acceptable dairy alternative.

My main was a sea bass served in a caper and butter sauce, served with fine beans. The portion was generous and the fish incredibly light, flaky and succulent. It was the best bass I have tasted in a long time.

The burrata – can you tell the difference with the vegan version?

We concluded with an excellent selection of British cheeses, which included a wonderful goat’s cheese which went well with my rioja.

Art of Belonging

Having spent the evening chatting away, unfortunately we did not have time to explore the Art of Belonging Exhibition, in the Bankside hotel’s White Box space. This showcases the artists included in Artists in Residence programme over the past five years.

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen Review Verdict

On a crowded Thursday night just before Christmas the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen proved an oasis in the heart of London. Incredible service, a relaxing ambience, and imaginative and well-presented food, make the Art Yard Bar & Kitchen an excellent option for relaxed dining in London.

Art Yard Bar & Kitchen London

Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground, London, SE1 9JU.

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