The Roof Gardens, London July 2016

by Emma Bumpus on July 21, 2016

Summer takes careertraveller to new heights at London’s eminent sky-high Roof Gardens that sparkle luxuriously with tranquillity, innovation and history.

Within this former swinging 60s Biba fashion store an elevator transports us to 7th floor heaven where we begin a stylishly cultural journey of exceptional hospitality and wanderlust inspiration in the Babylon Restaurant. First impressions boom with glistening fine dining tableware in a chic and contemporary glass walled interior brimming with ‘greenhouse’ light effects that cleverly bring the outside in.

Entry requires a fashionable meander past the bar in a trendy boudoir of a lounge boasting sleek leather pouffes, velvet clad sofa and ornamental alliums on a leaf engraved carpet that beckons alfresco dining. To the rescue is Oliver, Head Bar Tender who expertly makes alchemy in the form of signature cocktail ‘Red Edition’, a botanical melange of lemon verbena, borage and lemongrass which blended with legendary Sipsmith London Dry Gin, strawberry liquer and delicate lychee and lavender foam delivers an invigorating floral taste sensation.

Outside on the terrace awaits a green urban jungle of ‘knockout’ London skyline amidst the capital’s rooftops and cloud high trees that make this a stunning inner-city retreat. Sumptuous shades of sleek green cushions, throws and trendy bar stools are designed for all seasons with cinematic views of architectural gems; Royal Albert Hall, Houses of Parliament and Shard. A flavour of what’s to come!

From the verdant decks of this high-density artificial grass hideaway is lunch, a fine affair of the palate that arrives in garden infused shapes and colours brimming with intelligence, contemplation and finesse. Sensory melt in the mouth warm rosemary, and fennel infused bread spheres initiate an intimate dining event in preparation of extraordinary food with extraordinary hospitality.

Salvatore, our waiter, is a sommelier of the senses who appreciates gastronomy and fine dining practice which transcends expectation with crumbled Feta and Grapefruit Salad bursting with intense coloured desire. Served upon a super slick slate is a delicate sweet and salty allotment brimming with healthy seasonal produce on a bed of smooth avocado purée loaded with antioxidants. Racy red pomegranate seeds arrive sprinkled across a plot of fresh crumbled feta cheese, which decorated with palate cleansing mint leaves and succulent jewel like pieces of red grapefruit present a show of wholesome culinary art at it’s best.

Enchanted, excited and educated, our performance continues with the sound of gabbling pink flamingos that reside below in the English Woodland Garden, an evergreen oasis of serenity and exclusivity. A peek over the balcony is our cue to pop down to floor 6 but not before dessert Lemon Posset, the complete show stopper that explains why Babylon has been awarded a three star Food Made Good rating from The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for its commitment to sustainability.

Ingredients are a creative mix of the Mediterranean with juniper meringues and poppy seed ice cream bringing plot to plate with velvety miniature seashells of cream bursting with zesty lemon quintessential English summer and origins steeped in Shakespeare’s Middle Ages. Luminously playful gin and tonic jellies bring contrast and pleasure to the experience, which enhanced by a breeze down to the Spanish Garden unify the concept of food, colour and plants wrapped up in history and heritage.

Exotic swinging palms, red-hot geraniums and a plantation of hot hued coloured flowers are a continental journey that takes us on holiday. Packed with fragrant bay topiaries, silver leaf olive trees and soaring cypress trees that give a subtropical feel, we take a walk around this beautiful designed garden whose dazzling wild flowers are a menu of ‘oranges and lemons’.

Encircling the garden is a Moorish replica of the famous Alhambra in Granada, whose soft pinkish beige fortress walls skilfully mimic the castle’s towers with well-situated Spanish Veranda. From this VIP Area we dip into the world of outdoor glamour where bespoke waitress service and colonial seating bring the original 1930s landscaped gardens into the 21st century.

A divert to the Tudor Garden reveals a historical leafy green backdrop fit for nothing less than spectacular events within 1.5 acres of gardens, justifiably acknowledged as a place of ‘Specific Historical Interest’ and given a Grade II listing by English Heritage.

Verdict, it is the careertraveller favourite Spanish Hideaway that smacks of unique travel with traces of Northern Africa and Southern Spain’s Andalusia. Inside, Arabesque interiors tell a story as we step into the world of Sir Richard Branson, whose award winning retreats put the L in Virgin Limited Edition. Inimitable!

Further information:

The Roof Gardens
Babylon Restaurant
Virgin Limited Edition

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: