So today I’m heading into the City of London for lunch at South African restaurant High Timber. My lunch with blogger friends was inspired by my latest quest to get everyone drinking as much South African wine as possible. The recent lockdown-related alcohol ban in South Africa is having devastating effects on the industry with over 300,000 jobs affected. And the real chance that many vineyards, cellars and related businesses won’t survive. Although you can’t buy alcohol anywhere in SA (including restaurants which obviously is terrible for their business, too), you can buy it here in London. So we can help! This a quest I can really get behind.
My first trip on the London Underground since December (all masked and sanitised of course) was a pleasant experience with its empty carriages. London is definitely a more chilled city now that it’s less crowded. I emerged into the unusually deserted streets of the City of London. From there it’s a short walk to the restaurant’s beautiful riverside setting.
Its founders are Gary and Kathy Jordan of Jordan Wine Estate in the Cape Winelands – one of my favourite haunts over the years. Their partner, the welcoming Neleen Strauss, greeted us and led us to our table where a generous plateful of biltong and boerewors awaited us. Good start.
What’s on the menu
The South African influence is immediately apparent in many of the ingredients. To start with I went for the rooibos tea smoked salmon with rye bread and horseradish. Smokey, soft salmon and delicate creamy horseradish. A perfect classic.
The white gazpacho is a wonderful summer starter – refreshing and with a real zing.
Crispy calamari (a staple on most SA menus) with a tasty sauce.
This plump piece of turbot sat proudly on a bd of buttered spinach and crushed new potatoes, drizzled with lemon butter sauce.
Steak is a High Timber speciality and tagliata one of my all-time favourites. Easy choice then. Tender medium-rare steak and a beautifully dressed rocket salad equals happinesss on a plate.
For pudding, another SA classic – the Don Pedro. A glass of salted caramel ice cream and Kaluha liqueur. Transports me back to university days when it was a truly exotic treat!
And then there’s that all-important wine. When asked to choose I couldn’t resist another all-time favourite – Jordan Chardonnay. Another step closer to saving SA wine – one bottle at a time. And an invitation to join my quest…you know you want to.
Today’s price point
Lunch for two (three courses), including wine and service came to £124.
High Timber is at 8 Hight Timber Street, London EC4V 3PA. It’s a short walk from Mansion House underground station.