Coq d’argent is a rather fabulous venue on the roof of Number 1 The Poultry, right in the middle of the Square Mile. Visiting a City restaurant with a roof top garden on a Sunday in January may not be the best timing, but we got a real feel for just how good a location this actually is. In the Winter, when the garden is not in use, you can appreciate just how well designed this place is and take in the views without being disturbed by the usual cityboy revellers. We had booked a Top Table deal of 3 courses for £19 (the normal 3 course lunch price is £30), and that is where it gets interesting. Most places cut corners on deals. They do not always seem to appreciate that these deals are an ideal way to showcase the restaurant. Coq d’argent got it 100% right. At no point did we feel like second class citizens or cheapskates. The set menu had sufficient choices and included top end items like escargot and venison. This actually encouraged us to upgrade our wine choices to something from their selection of fine wines.
The service was friendly and efficient, and the place was buzzing. The Jazz band from the bar area also made a couple of sorties into the Restaurant to play “happy birthday”, which was certainly entertaining the first time, but maybe not so much the sixth time. However it is easy to understand why people come here to celebrate.
Apparently “the luxury consumer’s desire to climb skyward is most strongly felt in dense, heavily populated urban metropolises”. I can not disagree with that, so when you get the right weather, it’s good to find a venue with a view. Here are a couple of our favourite Roof Top Bars in the urban metropolis that is Barcelona.
The Majestic – Gourmet Bar
The Majestics pool bar has stunning views, it is a beautiful location, however it does have a few negatives :-
Drinks are expensive and served in plastic glasses!
The drink selection is limited
The staff seem more concerned with keeping the place tidy than serving customers.
No idea on the food front as nothing offered on the menu that we could see, just rather plain crisps delivered with our drinks.
Here is a short video:-
The Claris Hotel – La Terraza del Claris
Views from the Claris Hotel are not as good as the Majestic, but the bar service and food choices are a lot better. It’s a more laid back venue. The prices here are also very expensive so prepare to nurse that drink and make the most of the view.
Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Holborn, Marylebone, Mayfair, Seven Dials, Soho, St James and Westminster.
That is a pretty large area, so I am going to focus on the centre of the West End or Tourist Central, i.e., places around Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. This is mainly because finding a decent restaurant or bar in this area is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.
So here are recommendations, in no particular order.
Thai Square, Trafalgar Square – it’s not the best Thai restaurant in London by any means, but it is part of a reliable chain. (It has recently won an award to say it is the best – so judge for yourself). It is also a good location for larger groups.
Asia de Cuba, St Martins Lane Hotel – Very stylish and expensive venue, food is specifically designed for sharing, so ideal for groups of 4 or more.
The Mint Leaf, Piccadilly – a stylish, Modern Indian Restaurant and Bar. Good Pre Theatre venue.
5th View Bar & Food, Waterstones, Piccadilly – For a book store cafe, this place is great, it does good reasonably priced cocktails and the food is way better that you would expect (limited choice though). Nice selection of cakes – the carrot cake is particularly good.
The Wolseley, Piccadilly – European Style Brasserie, very popular, stunning room – great for people watching if you can get a table.
Atheneaum Hotel, Piccadilly – The restaurant focuses on British style food. The hotel also does a really good “Afternoon Tea” and has a bar that is both cosy and stylish (and expensive!).