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4 December 2017


the oxo tower is one of those buildings on the london skyline you don't stop to think too much about, but one which has an incredible history, and still has a massive impact on the southbank it resides on. the oxo tower wharf alone is an award-winning landmark, and is home to some of the uk's most innovative and world renowned independent designers, restaurants, cafes, bars, and exhibition venues - and has been since the 90s when it was saved from dereliction by the coin street community, who began the major refurb project that transformed it from warehouse space, to the creative and artistic space it is today. a space that is an often-overlooked area of the southbank - though it definitely shouldn't be.

it's a stones throw from the tate modern, which is one of the most thriving areas in the neighbourhood. thanks to it's heaving rota of contemporary and innovative exhibitions, there is always something new to see and try to understand at the tate. plus, it's free. it's still free. in this day and age when nothing is free, you can literally pop by and take in many of the truly unique installations whenever you fancy, and only pop a few coins in the donations box while you do. plus: the rooftop at the tate has some of the best, 360 views of the southbank (you can see the oxo tower from there, obvs) and central london, and that's not something to be sniffed at.

another of the coin street builders' projects is the green room - a neighbourhood cafe and beer garden serving the community delicious foods and drinks year-round, from the outer grounds of the national theatre. it's a beautiful contemporary space with a very trendy nordic feel, and a wonderful garden sponsored by sipsmith gin this silly season. the frost fair is open from 5pm most days (weather dependant), and offers an array of curated hot gins, including a hot negroni, mulled sloe gin, and gin hot toddies. mulled gin. i notoriously hate mulled anything, but mulled gin has become my new winter drink. take my word, and try it for yourself.

the winter set menu at the green room is also not to be sniffed at, and offers some incredible takes on the ordinary foods you find at this time of year. take the roast beets and goats cheese starter, that is all kinds of tasty and doesn't at all remind me of a summer salad or the vegetarian option at a steak restaurant. it was smokey and sweet, and the cheese was soft and creamy. the two types of beetroot were complimentary of each other, and actually, made for a very filling starter! then there was the turkey burger; battered in a spice mix that tastes like christmas, and stuffed into a brioch bun with all the basics - and a tangy cranberry salsa that was a very festive touch!

as far as burgers go, it was ok. as far as turkey goes, it was really bloody genius. but the winner? the winner was the dessert. gingerbread french toast.. but not as you know it. actual ginger bread fried and gooey, served with a fresh citrus sorbet and crumbly crumbs, alongside some cinnamoned apples. not sure if that's the correct term, but, whatever. it was christmas on a plate, and i was all in. for £30 for all three courses and the welcome mulled gin in the frost fair, i'm going to go ahead and say that's a winter bargain - wouldn't you?

the green room is only a ten minute walk from oxo tower wharf, and along the way there's so much more to discover. there's gabriel's wharf, an arty mix of (more) independent cafes, boutiques, and gift shops tucked out of the way of the busy river traffic, and full of colour and life. there's the southbank centre with its festive markets and rooftop saunas. there's the food. there's the drink. there's the river. there's so much more to discover around oxo tower wharf than you think - including amazing workshops and salesrooms of some unique and inventive small businesses, like that of bramwell brown clock makers. can't say i'm a massive clock nerd, but the mechanimated pieces that come out of this showroom even blew me away. the barometers inside these moving clocks show illustrated images of the actual weather to expect that day, and can be personalised to any person or family you wish - the perfect gift for the person who has everything! (seriously, i am that person, and i love their clocks!)

so, yeah. the oxo tower is one of those buildings on the london skyline you don't stop to think too much about, but one that still has a massive impact on the southbank it resides on. go see for yourself!

*i was a guest of the oxo tower's for the day, but all words are my own!

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