To return to an old cliché, sadly it was. The Design Museum is the last building on the Shad Thames strip, beyond which it turns into Bermondsey or some other godforsaken place south east of the river. On the fringe of the City, Blueprint deserves both to be stumbled upon and made a destination in its own right, and not just after paying a visit to the Design Museum itself.
Blueprint is light and airy, with a summery terrace perfect for those long June evenings. It overlooks the industrial warehouses on the north of the river, where, just a week earlier, the Queen had apparently stood for the Jubilee celebrations. The place is proud of its prime river location – "we were booked up for the Jubilee weekend since January," sighs the manager – and deservedly so. Thankfully a week after the celebrations the crowds had dispersed, but left the orange-streaked sky to be enjoyed as the sun goes down.
We started with a raspberry vodka cocktail – fresh raspberries muddled with a bite of vodka. (Blueprint does aperitifs very well: it understands the value of sitting by the window, gazing out over the murkier bit of the Thames and watching the sun slowly slide behind the clouds before even looking at the menu.)
In a coup for the restaurant, head chef Mark Jarvis has just come over from Michelin-starred Texture, and the menu reflects his commitment to simple, rustic dishes. Starters came in the form of cured salmon and cucumber (me) and, with a nod to the season, asparagus and truffle dressing (public sector friend, unused to such decadent eating). Mains of cod loin and a butter bean sauce and the shoulder and neck of lamb didn’t disappoint: the code was fresh and tender, while the lamb was rich and juicy. Peas and bacon and pomme purée on the side finished it off, although the mains are such decent portions that the sides were more a formality than a necessity.
Wine matching comes as standard, and two glasses of crisp chardonnay matched the fish I’d chosen perfectly. Public sector friend was equally impressed, glugging back a smooth red with the lamb.
As much as the food is indulgent, the view is what’ll get people coming again and again. Plus, Blueprint is part of the Tower Bridge Summer Festival, with Wimbledon screenings, masterclasses and extravagant dinners all part of the action over the next three months. See towerbridgesummerfestival.com for more details.