RSJ Restaurant, London

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Discovered when the Royal Opera House was being rebuilt, and the company was transferred to the South Bank, this little restaurant on Coin Street is also handy for a pre or post theatre visit to the National Theatre – a little gem on this slightly barren area.

RSJ was opened in March 1980 after nine months of hard work to convert a dilapidated 19th Century former stables, which had to be reinforced with several RSJs (rolled steel joists) – hence our name! We have been in The Good Food Guide since 1981 and are proud that we are amongst the Guide’s longest serving restaurants. Close to the South Bank, RSJ has always been popular for pre and post theatre dinners with the kitchen trained to make sure you get to the show on time.

As well as the good food and service, the RSJ specialises in Loire wines – a particular favourite of ours – including the bio-dynamically cultivated Vouvray Le Haut Lieu, an excellent still vouvray amongst the many sparking varieties. Also featured are Muscadet and the unmissable Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé selection from the upper reaches of the Loire. An excellent specialist list at very sensible prices. There’s a selection from other regions, but all french.

Coin Street became the centre of a movement for community development in the 1970s. Local people drew up a planning strategy to reverse the destruction of their community by building new homes and community facilities. Central to this strategy was use of the eight largely derelict Coin Street sites. In 1977, after a developer had announced plans to build Europe’s tallest hotel and over 1 million square feet of office space on the sites, the Coin Street Action Group was set up. The Action Group drew up plans [well, their architects who had worked for the developer and then worked for the community for free] for housing, a new riverside park and walkway, managed workshops, shops and leisure facilities. Seven years of extraordinary campaigning, including two year-long public inquiries, followed. A number of office developers competed for the site then joined forces. After the second inquiry planning permission was granted for both the office and the community schemes. Half of the area was owned by the office developers and half by the Greater London Council (GLC). The GLC had originally supported the office developers but, after 1981, it supported the community scheme. In 1984 the office developers sold their land to the GLC which, in turn, sold the whole site to Coin Street Community Builders. The area has continued to thrive and develop and includes the Oxo Tower – shops and great restaurants by Harvey Nichols.

The watch shop, Mr Jones, is worth a visit!

Restaurant RSJ

The original Coin Street proposals from the Richard Rogers [Now Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners] website



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