I currently have a huge backlog of wonderful meals that I want to tell you all about, I just wish I had more time. I’ve been eating out far more often than I ought to lately and I’m also really busy at work, a combination that does not leave much time for blogging. So tonight I resolved to spend the evening in the garden tap tap tapping away and here I am.
I have a cold drink by my side, a chicken in the oven and the cats stretched out next to me. The sun is shining and I couldn’t be happier. I adore the sunshine.
You wont hear a bad word from me about this glorious weather. I want to be outside at every opportunity. I feel like I’m missing out if I have to eat indoors even once day. So when it came to choosing a venue for dinner last night, I was adamant that we needed a table outside. Not an easy task with 2 days notice in the middle of a heatwave but as a Northerner I firmly believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
All of the usual suspects were booked up well in advance and many don’t take bookings for outdoor tables, which is a pain, but I eventually found us somewhere that looked pretty decent. Good location, 7:30pm reservation, guaranteed table outside. I’d done well and everyone was happy.
More fool us! Later that night someone was tweeting about the exceptionally poor food hygiene rating that Marcus Wareing @ The Berkeley had received from the FSA and I nonchalantly decided to check out the place I had booked. 1 out of 5. ONE OUT OF FIVE. FOR HYGIENE! I literally broke into a sweat.
This was not good, it was not good at all. There was no way I could risk being responsible for poisoning my friends but now I needed to find us a new outdoor table with only a day’s notice. Great.
Thankfully after some furious googling and a number of phone calls the next morning, I managed to bag a table at The (previously unknown to me) Rooftop Cafe. And what a treat it turned out to be. A total hidden gem, which just happens to be slap bang next to The Shard.
Check out the view!
I loved it as soon as I set foot on the rooftop. The view was magnificent and the decor was contemporary and effortless, with cute boxes of flowers and herbs lining the walls and basic handmade furniture dotted around.
It was busy but not jam packed, which is a novelty for rooftop dining in London. I felt it had a real buzz and I loved the fact that it was so relaxed. The service had the same feel about it, very friendly and very chilled.
We started off with some cocktails and began to peruse the menu, which we were told changes daily and places an emphasis on sustainability.
There were 5 choices for each course and all of the dishes were appealing. It’s not often that I could happily order anything from the menu but this was one of those times. The theme was simplicity with a focus on fresh ingredients. It was the perfect food for hot weather and you could certainly see an Australian influence from head chef Magnus Reid.
It was cafe food at its best. Light, tasty, classic dishes.
There was nothing intricate or challenging about this food. It was just great ingredients combined to bring out the best in each other. Asparagus with a runny poached egg, anchovies with a huge wedge of lemon, tomatoes with oil and sharp vinegar. Combinations that you know are going to deliver.
Ricotta, lemon and herbs from the rooftop
Asparagus and poached egg (without the smoked eel for a veggie)
White anchovies, lemon and radish
Seared tuna with sesame and roquette
Aubergine, yoghurts, nuts and seeds
What, no puddings? Don’t be silly, of course we had puddings. A flourless chocolate ginger cake and a gooseberry yoghurt cake were both scoffed down in no time at all, but by this time it was dark, so there are no photos I’m afraid.
We had a marvellous evening out on the rooftop. It provided an amazing view, tasty food, great service and to top it all off, blankets when the sun set and we got a bit nippy. What more could you ask for?
Happy customers in blankets
If you’re looking for somewhere low-key and central to go an alfresco meal I would unreservedly recommend The Rooftop Cafe. It serves lunch on weekdays and dinner on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. The only glitch is finding it, it’s in an office block up 3 flights of stairs, so not your usual restaurant entrance but well worth the hunt.
I will certainly be back before the summer is out. I only hope too many people don’t find out about it and I can still get a table.