Given the dearth of good Chinese food in London (don’t even get me started on that tourist trap, Chinatown), River View is a bit of a treat. Okay, so it’s a bit tucked away, but it’s actually only about 100 meters east of Wapping Station – now very accessible on the overground network - and it comes with lovely river views (funny that).
The food is standard Peking/Cantonese, but there is a local emphasis on seafood, including a delicious grilled eel. The noodle dishes had the required ‘wok hei’ (that savoury taste of the hot pan for non-Cantonese speakers). And, unlike Chinatown, the salt and pepper squid didn’t taste like yellow-battered, oil oozing, reheated calamari, but actually had a light, white (i.e. correct) batter and a reasonable amount of salt and pepper (they call it chilli and salt at River View, but it’s the same thing). Oh, and the dumplings were so much nicer than any I’ve had in Chinatown, with a thinner skin and some well seasoned pork – a little more crunchy vegetable (Chinese celery, for example) would have made them perfect, but perhaps you can’t have everything.
The service is good too, perhaps because it’s mainly a local restaurant, and the management seem to care about things like repeat custom. And then there are those river views from the terrace. If you’re on the terrace, though, bring an extra layer. The river can get chilly.
In short this is a good place for Cantonese/Peking cuisine in a sea of Central London mediocrity. It may not be Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong – and it’s not a dim sum place, if that’s your thing – but its light years ahead of anything on Gerard Street and surrounds.