Perched high above the capital with enviable views out over the City, London’s hottest new destination rooftop restaurant, bar and grand terrace, Aviary, has come home to roost.
Nestling on the 10th floor of the brand new Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, bordering the City and Shoreditch on Finsbury Square, leading restaurant and bar operator ETM Group has taken dining to a new level with its first sky-high venue.
From the large ornate birdcage suspended above the stairway leading from the dedicated lift, to the proud pair of peacocks heralding the venue’s entrance, Aviary is an ornithological paradise soaring above London’s busy streets that will have cocktail connoisseurs, City lunchers and evening pleasure-seekers flocking.
With a plumage of golds, creams and earthy browns plus colour pops of purple, orange and green, Aviary’s eye-catching design from the renowned Russell Sage Studio makes it the place to see and be seen.
Floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides flood the room with daylight and provide incredible views towards London’s trendy East villages to one side and the City’s iconic skyscrapers on the other. The city scape is further brought into the venue through the use of marble and antique mirrors, softened by timber details which create a warmer, more intimate environment.
A grand central bar with intricate brass and timber details elegantly divides the stylish restaurant area from the opulent bar lounge. The nest has been furnished with a mix of seating from louche sofas to dining chairs to banquettes in plush suede and butter-soft leather, to get comfortable for cocktails or linger over lunch and dinner.
After hours being cooped up at the office, Aviary’s grand roof terrace, arguably the largest in London, is the ultimate spot to stretch your wings and embrace the elements. Stylish sofas, retro chairs and standard lamps – not to mention its feature marble outdoor bar – bring the feel of a fashionable living space out into the open with the City skyline as your wallpaper! Plenty of heat lamps and fire pits will keep you warm and toasty when temperatures drop and as the mercury rises, the south facing spot is perfect for soaking up some sun with a cocktail, chilled glass of wine or frosty beer.
As much thought has gone into the menu as the sophisticated interiors. The cast iron Bertha coal oven takes centre stage, cooking only the highest quality British meat sourced from small livestock farmers using the best of the UK’s heritage breeds, including White Park cattle from Dorset, Longhorn cows from the Lake District and wild fish responsibly sourced from south coast day boats and British fishing ports, wherever possible.
Start with something light from the Raw section for example, cured Chalk Stream trout with taramasalata, celeriac, apple and rye; beef tartare with oyster dressing, shallots and radish or a platter of oysters, cherrystone clams, trout, tuna, scallop and mackerel for one or two people. Alternatively, opt for something with some heat behind it such as Kombu marinated pork with brown shrimp cocktail; Sutton Hoo chicken, bulgar, quail egg and caviar, or beetroot with goat’s cheese, blackberries, walnuts and truffle.
For the main event, the coal oven offers prime meat cuts and wild fish on the bone cooked over live charcoal at temperatures of up to 550°C to bring out the best possible flavour. Select from the daily changing ‘butchers cut’, retired dairy cow sirloin on the bone or one of the impressive larger cuts to share such as the Ayrshire rose veal T-bone (950g), Old Spot double chop (900g) or Shorthorn chateaubriand (500g). Beautiful servings of wild fish are just as satisfying – dive into skate, monkfish, lemon sole or line-caught wild bass for two.
All are served straight-up so be sure to stop by the sides including: flower sprouts and bacon; honey and cumin glazed carrots, or thrice-cooked chips and choose your sauce from a variety that includes unusual Hodson’s (Béarnaise with a hint of Marmite); moreish truffled gravy; brown butter and caper or simple seaweed butter. For a higher level of indulgence add pulled beef belly; confit duck egg; griddled king prawns or half native lobster.
Leave plenty of room for dessert with choices such as: After Eight Arctic roll; milk chocolate mousse with salted caramel, almonds and malt ice cream; and sticky toffee pudding, spiced apple, vanilla ice cream and tonka crumble.
Gather around Aviary’s large island bar for drinks deserving of a sky-high setting. An array of beautifully crafted cocktails embrace a botanical theme using natural ingredients, such as honey sourced from local London markets, in a fresh and innovative way.
Presented in beautiful glassware, stylish copper tankards and extra special copper pineapple sharing serves, the unique creations feature libations to lust after under headings of Floral & Elegant, Tricks & Treats, Coppers & Sharing Pineapples, and Deep & Dirty.
Early birds should start with a light, refreshing High Heel Society (Sipsmith gin, Joseph Perrier Champagne, cucumber and honey). Kick the evening into gear with a Sour Cherry Bomb (Sipsmith vodka, Kamm & Sons, cherries and rhubarb bitters), and keep things interesting as Jeff Goes South with El Jimador tequila, beetroot, pechauds and absinthe. Make a statement with one of the copper sharing pineapples. Jennings Steam Boat brings a taste of the tropics to the table with Santa Teresa Claro rum, pineapple, honey and lime, or enjoy the buzz from The Bee & The Frog (Louis Royer, apricot brandy, lemon, honey and tonic).
Premium spirits are accompanied by a comprehensive wine list, with most bins available by the glass courtesy of a Coravin wine dispenser, and plenty of lager and craft beer options including Long Arm Brewing Co. on draught.