Arriving at Kingston's Riverside Walk, you would be forgiven for forgetting that you're still in London. The view of the opposing bank is green, leafy and tranquil and with river traffic being minimal - expect a bevy of swans and the ocassional rowing boat - it offers a very relaxing aspect.
Situated on this sleepy curve of the river Thames, the promenade begins with the Riverside Walk's array of popular restaurants; here you can find Bill's Diner, Busaba Eathai, Comptoir Libanais, Cau and Côte. Nestled together, these restaurants form my favourite places in Kingston to grab lunch or to enjoy dinner. They're all medium-large restaurants, with enough capacity and waiting staff to deal with even the busier Friday nights. Additionally, each of the restaurants have generous outdoor seating areas, as well as large, glass doors which on warmer days can be fully opened to offer my favourite type of indoor/outdoor seating.
I've been to Kingston's Riverside Walk a couple of times, usually to eat dinner at Kingston's Busaba Eathai. However, on this occasion, I had been invited along to visit CAU, Comptoir Libanais and Côte.
This was by first visit to CAU, and it didn't disappoint. CAU offers up an array of familiar food with a Buonas Aires twist - expect exceptional meats, especially steaks and burgers. However, I was also really impressed by some of their small plates, especially their chorizo and red pepper skewers (which were rich but utterly delicious).
It's also worth noting that CAU has a kids menu, with all the options priced at £7.50. In fact, all the restaurants along the are family friendly with menus for children - and, from the look of it, there's enough space in all the restaurants we visited to navigate prams, even in the outdoor seating areas.
But don't let me leave you thinking that CAU is all about meat - not only are there vegetarian options to get stuck into, but there's also a very tempting desert and drinks menu. If you're inclined towards something alcoholic then I would highly recommend the Pink Spritz, it's wonderfully light and refreshing - a fabulous choice for the summertime.
For anyone more interested in the sweet treats on offer, I should probably mention that I was really impressed by CAU's Churros - and I'm not typically a Churro-loving type of person. They strike a nice balance of flavours, and they're indulgent without being too doughy. I'd definitely come back for more!
Our next stop was Comptoir Libanais, a restaurant serving up wholesome Middle Eastern cuisine in a vibrant and busy souk-like atmosphere. As soon as you walk into Kingston's Comptoir Libanais you can't help by notice the eclectic vibe, it's pretty infectious! If you like your restaurants with a warm, buzzing atmosphere then I'd highly recommend paying it a visit.
On arrival, the friendly and welcoming staff encouraged us to enjoy the communal spread of food - sharing mezze dishes between the group, as is often done with Lebanese cuisine. Everything I tried was really tasty - I especially enjoyed the falafel (which I ate with hummous) and the grilled lamb. I'd definitely like to return with a group of friends to recreate this sort of mezze feast, although there are also lots of options for anyone dining solo or as a couple.
Last but not least, we ended the evening by visiting Côte for desert and a matching wine. By this time the sun had set and we were welcomed into the restaurant by it's warm lighting and mellow yet sophisticated ambience. In contrast to Comptoir Libanais' energetic atmosphere, Côte felt very relaxing. As we arrived we walked past people enjoying a post-dinner coffee, and we were seated in the heart of the restaurant where we were treated to Côtes most popular deserts - the Creme Caramel and Chocolate Mousse.
I have to admit that the Creme Caramel was heavenly - the best I've tried. It was rich and creamy, with the perfect texture and flavour. We were lucky enough to meet the head Chef, whose kitchen freshly prepares the deserts each morning, and he cheerily joked about Côtes sought after secret recipes - which I think we all wanted after experiencing the food.
The evening was really well organised and all the restaurants made a great demonstration of their star dishes as well as their friendly and accomodating service. It was a real pleasure to meet the managers of the restaurants, as well as the chefs, and it left me with a wonderful impression of Kingston's Riverside Walk.
Not only is there a great choice of cuisine on offer, but the location offers a fantastic ambiance. With the sun setting across the water, in the evening all the restaurants are flooded with the most beautiful light. And, once the sun finally sets, I loved how the bridge was illuminated - for me it was reminiscent of being on holiday in Europe! Yet, with the Riverside Walk being so closely located to the heart of Kingston, you're still only ten minutes walk away from the station or moments away from John Lewis' easily accessible car park.
My experience at Kingston's Riverside Walk felt like a mini-holiday,
and that's more than enough of reason to keep me going back!
*This post is not sponsored, but my experience at Kingston's Riverside Walk was provided to me in exchange for a review