Marsha is a new restaurant in Gabriel’s Wharf with a prime position on the Thames. It is not out to please everyone with its chicken-based menu, but for anyone who likes to chill with chicken and friends this will be at the top their eat-out list, writes Michael Holland.
There are, of course, one or two vegetarian offerings but this is not what Marsha is about because the menu has been created around produce from Soanes Poultry, an award-winning family farm in the Yorkshire Wolds. With that in mind, myself and virtuoso violinist Philippa made sure that we tried and tested many aspects of Marsha’s chicken dishes.
We were there for the soft opening on the day that eating and drinking outside became legal again, and as there was a smattering of snow that very morning I guessed it would be quite cold sitting by the river. Fortunately, all Marsha’s alfresco areas have cover and heating.
We had a table on the upstairs balcony with views over to St Paul’s and The City. Operating in a Covid-Safe environment meant accessing the menu on our phones while the serving staff tapped our choices into tablets before electronically whizzing them off to the kitchen.
My companion chose a very agreeable Poggiotondo, Organic Vermentino from Tuscany that wafted with fruit and floral aromas. Just about the perfect wine for the chicken we were soon to have.
Technology is great when it works but we do expect it to have teething troubles on its first test run, so we had no problem when, like a murmuration of starlings, our starters, mains and sides all landed on the table at the same time. There was a coordinated flurry of servers dropping off chicken this and chicken that, salad, chips, dips, and soon after a plate of complimentary fried chicken was squeezed on to fill up the last smidgeon of space. We could only look at each other and laugh before tucking in to what was a truly delightful meal in wonderful surroundings.
Marsha prides itself on using all parts of the bird and we pretty much ate most of it. The chopped chicken liver was chunky and flavoursome; the grilled chicken was herby and moist; the fried chicken was crispy on the outside and heavenly within. The Soanes family, it has to be said, have done an excellent job on their farm. And triple-cooked chips need no other words.
The sun shone, the Thames flowed along with the wine and conversation and before we knew it our waiter was back for our dessert picks, although this time with a pencil and paper while the IT department, no doubt, were turning the tablets off and then on again.
Philippa had the Lemon Posset, a sharply refreshing dish of delight, while I felt compelled to go for the Vegan Chocolate Sundae. Initially to find fault and confirm all my unsubstantiated thoughts on vegan food, but once again I found that vegans eat rather well these days. It was chocolatey, it was creamy, there was a crisp coconut thingy in there to add another texture, and it was a complete winner. In a blind taste test I would have embarrassed myself.
All in all our lunch was a great success. The staff all performed impeccably to get the restaurant open for business after almost a year off, and I’m sure the technological gremlins will have been banished from the system before a future visit to Marsha’s, the Angel of Gabriel’s Wharf.
56 Upper Ground, SE1 9PP
Mon to Sat:12:00 – 23:00; Sun: 12 – 22.00