Winter can be hard, so making time for yourself and your loved one is more important than ever. On a cold, dark night, we headed to Finsbury Square, where Shoreditch and The City collide, for a glimpse into the world of The Aviary. Recently opened on the 9th floor of the ever-stylish Montcalm Hotel, The Aviary is the newest addition to the EMT Group who are the masterminds behind The Botanist in Chelsea, The Well in Clerkenwell and Burdock (in the very same building as The Aviary).
With an open plan, Art Deco design and floor to ceiling city views, the restaurant space is a perfect setting for an after work dinner with a Great Gatsby meets Wolf of Wall Street feel. A live DJ playing house music and the low lighting keep the vibe distinctly city slicker which isn’t always romance-inducing, but ask for a table by the windows to make sure that the twinkling city lights are your focus point. Once settled, prepare to get hit by a wave of indecision… The menu is so packed with delicious options you’ll be making a mental note to return before you’ve even ordered the wine.
Finally, we managed to make a decision – a goats cheese and beetroot salad plus a raw seafood platter for one was ordered. If you’re a fan of seafood, the raw platter is not something to be missed. With oysters, clams, mackerel, salmon, tuna and scallops all competing for space on the plate, it’s heaven for the raw food-lover. Don’t let the delicate starters fool you though, The Aviary is all about the grill, in fact, most of the main courses are cooked rigorously over their Bertha coal grill for a cave man style meat experience. We went for the interesting sounding Retired Dairy Cow Sirloin and the Ribeye on the bone which arrived crisp and black on the edges but delightfully pink in the middle. The smokiness of the grill added extra depth to the already gamey-ness of the dairy cow meat, which although was tougher than the usual sirloin you’d get in a steakhouse, was much more flavourful. With perfect fries (the kind you might get in a particular fast food joint – we won’t tell you which but just say that ‘we’re lovin’ it’), and creamy spinach on the side to temper the meat, we were in heaven.
After doing our bit for the environment (dairy cows after all are much more environmentally friendly than cows just bred for their meat), we shared a custard tart with banana ice cream and praline to add a little romance back into the evening after focussing solely on our steaks. Fighting over the last scraps of delicious pastry we took ourselves outside to The Aviary’s stunning rooftop terrace for a blast of arctic London air and a stupendous view over the glistening heart of the city. With comfortable seating, tables and thankfully outdoor heaters, the terrace was full of couples taking in the nighttime view. We made a mental note to return on a warmer day for a light lunch (read: burger) and a glass of wine. On our exit, we said farewell to the peacocks guarding the entrance to the Aviary’s restaurant space and the oversized bird cage hanging from the stairwell as we descended the nine floors down to reality.
Is The Aviary for everyone? Probably not, but if you can see past the city slicker atmosphere and focus on the delicious menu, friendly staff and mesmerising terrace views, there are more than enough reasons to venture to Finsbury square for a little slice of bird-themed romance.
For more information please visit www.aviarylondon.com/