Test Driving Rick Stein Barnes - the top chef brings his seafood restaurant to London

turbotRoast tronçon of wild turbot with hollandaise sauce

What can you tell us about Rick Stein?

We're going to assume that most of you have a broad awareness of Rick Stein from his various TV shows, restaurants and books. He's been primarily based around Padstow and the South West of England with a number of seafood restaurants. This sees him opening his first restaurant in London's leafy Barnes, with seafood the main focus.

Where is it?

Previously Stein has been on record as saying he'd never open a spot in London, so the announcement of his restaurant in Barnes was something of a surprise. If you're not local, hop on a train to Barnes Bridge from Vauxhall (takes about 20 mins) and it's a short walk along the river from there.

sashimiSashimi of salmon, tuna, sea bass and scallop with wasabi, pickled ginger, daikon, shiso leaves and soy dipping sauce

And where should we sit?

In front of the restaurant (but not facing the river) there's a lovely leafy alfresco spot and, on a good day, this will be a place to go. But the main seats to head towards are in the central room - any of the four tables by the large open window facing the Thames, watching all the rowers pass by.

If you can't get this, the area by the bar is the next best - not as great a view but still a lovely room. Frankly the whole place is very comfortably designed.

Who's it suitable for?

if you're a fan of Rick Stein, then it's obviously well worth the trip. There are also some large tables for groups, too. Essentially we'd bill this as an all-ages spot.

curryIndonesian seafood curry - sea bass, cod and prawns served with pilau rice and a green bean and grated coconut salad with crisp fried shallots, garlic and chilli.

And what should we order?

There are plenty of non-seafood options on the menu, but we did stuck with fish as it's what the man is best known for.

it's worth pointing out that a lot of the mains come with some sort of side - so the prices do, to an extent, account for this. You may want to clarify what everything includes before going mad on the sides (although we did like the hand cut thin chips - but then we're a bit greedy). And as anyone will tell you - if you want well-sourced fish, that comes at a price (that's most definitely worth paying).

On our visit, we were very happy with our choices and would happily order every single one of them again. Our standouts were...

The Indonesian seafood curry - a lightly curried dish of sea bass cod and prawns that ticked all our boxes. Beautifully-cooked fish with a sauce we wanted to drink afterwards. Also comes with a bowl of pilau rice and a coconut salad on the side (£22.95)

The Troncon of wild turbot - perfectly cooked slab of turbot with a very good hollandaise - a simple dish done well. Comes with potatoes and courgettes on the side (£35.95).

The panna cotta with salted pistachio cream (£6.95). Obviously, this just sounds great from the menu description, but the kitchen here delivered one of the best panna cottas we've had in an age. Perfectly wibbly, delightfully creamy and a big "yes" to the pistachio cream.

pannacottaPanna cotta with salted pistachio cream.

What about drinks?

We went at lunch so didn't really put the drinks list fully to test - but it's a surprisingly affordable wine list - starting at £19.95 a bottle with over 10 options under £30 as well as plenty of options to blow the budget on. Stein's son Charlie is a wine buyer and responsible for the list and it read as one of the best we'd seen in ages. 

Overall thoughts?

When any big chef comes to town, they're put under a bigger microscope than most new openings. From our visit to Rick Stein we found a seafood restaurant in a great riverside spot, a beautifully designed room and seafood dishes that lived up to our fairly high expectations. All that and you can have a lovely walk up the Thames afterwards to work off the food - it'll be a great spot as the weather continues to heat up. A highlight of the year so far.

Where: Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High Street, Barnes, London, SW14 8SN

How to book: Book online or call 020 8878 9462.

Find out more about Rick Stein in Barnes.

Hot Dinners were invited to Rick Stein Barnes. Prices are correct at the time of writing.