With Winter approaching and Christmas on the horizon it’s time to get festive and start conjuring up seasonal date ideas. Winter can be such a romantic season filled with crisp nights, roaring fires and food & drinks galore and here at H&L we have found the ideal place to snuggle up; Babylon’s Winter Terrace at The Roof Gardens. Roof gardens we hear you say? Well yes. We were also a little dubious about how a roof garden could be suitable for this time of year- surely it is too chilly we thought? But we were wrong. With the return of their Winter Terrace, complete with cosy heaters, Londoners can warm their cockles with a delicious menu full of baked cheeses and hot cocktails at this award-winning restaurant.
Not knowing what to expect we stepped out of the lift into Babylon Restaurant to be greeted by a lovely hostess who led us out onto terrace towards our table. I held my breath in anticipation of being hit by a spine-chilling blast of cold air as we stepped outdoors but the chill never came. Instead I was enveloped in a cosy and warm red glow which as I looked up I noticed were the heaters. It was so toasty in fact that once we were seated in our big snuggly chairs I even had to remove my coat. And that’s when I noticed it. The view. The twinkling lights of London’s skyline lit up the sky and the crest of the Royal Albert Hall was nestled into the background of the cityscape. At this point the charming and very friendly head mixologist came to greet us and introduce the new Winter Terrace menu and the cocktail menu. Whilst we perused the menu a waiter placed a kilner jar full of popcorn on our table. He opened the lid and a cloud of smoke floated out and disappeared into the night sky. He then went on to explain that the popcorn was smoked and utterly delicious. We have to agree. The campfire-esque smokiness of the popcorn was unusual, incredibly fitting for Winter and unlike anything we have had before.
As we nibbled on our smoky popcorn we browsed the cocktail menu flicking through pages of champagne tipples, iced up treats and bottle aged cocktails before we finally decided. The head mixologist was on hand to make recommendations depending on what we liked. Being the big whiskey fan that he is, David opted to go for ‘Papa don’t Peach’– a blend of bulleit bourbon, peach liquor, peach puree with a twist of lemon and apple served steaming hot; a real winter warmer and part of the new Winter Terrace menu. I on the other hand opted for something a little more traditional to start. The Babylon Sling; a thirst-quenching mix of Tanqueray gin, Merlet apricot and cherry liqueurs, homemade grenadine, lemon and pineapple juice with a touch of soda. Presentation is just as important as the taste when it comes to a cocktail and the team at Babylong Roof Terrace didn’t disappoint when it came to that either. Apple pinwheels, lemon spirals and juicy berries created works of cocktail art right in front of our eyes.
In addition to the hot cocktails on the Winter Terrace menu you can also order baked cheeses, ideal for sharing and perfect for a date night. Dishes include baked Cornish Camembert for two with honey, walnuts and smoked apple chutney or French Comte Fondue melted with shallots, white wine and garlic – sure to ooze into the dreams of any cheese lover! As a huge cheese fan I could have tried all of the baked cheese options however we decided to be reserved and just try the French Comte Fondue. Served with an array of delicious breads from flat and crisp to fluffy doorstops, the fondue was divine and utterly perfect for a Winter treat on the terrace.
To finish off our evening the mixologist presented us with a delicious new warm winter signature cocktail- the Red Hot Edition. This may have been one the best winter cocktails I have ever tasted. Sipsmith’s sloe gin combined with a cherry liquor that has been infused with cloves for a week to create what can only be described as Christmas in a cup. If you try one festive cocktail this Winter make sure that it is the Red Hot Edition. You will not regret it!
Having never actually visited the roof gardens before we decided to quickly sneak down a floor and see what all the fuss was about. Although not particularly suitable for Winter we wanted to see whether it would be worth popping back in the Summer- and oh boy would it! We wandered along the drizzly pathways through the beautiful gardens taking it all in as we went. It is easy to forget that you are on top of a building as the flora and fauna trick you into believing otherwise which makes it all the more spectacular when you remember. The garden is home to a few beautiful pink Chilean flamingos that we managed to catch a glimpse of as they were sleeping under a tree- an attraction well worth coming back in the daytime to see. After we had convinced ourselves to come back in the Summer we headed straight back upstairs to warm our chilly toes. We ended our evening sipping on our cocktails, snuggled in blankets under the heaters looking out onto the rooftops of London. If that doesn’t scream romance I’m not sure what will.
Babylon’s Winter Terrace will be available from Tuesday October 24th until February 2018 and will be served at lunch times Wednesday – Friday and for dinner Tuesday – Saturday. Booking is not required, but availability is on a first come, first served basis.
The Roof Gardens 6th Floor, The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA
Please visit www.virginlimitededition.com/en/the-roof-gardens/babylon-restaurant for more details.
For more date night ideas see here