Places To Eat In London: Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
Summer is on its way, and as it is my first summer in the city for a couple of years, I wanted to kick things off over the last Bank Holiday with a couple of friends at somewhere I went for drinks the last time I was here during the summer months, and have kept on meaning to go back to so I could try the food: The Boundary Rooftop. Situated on top of the Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch (above The Albion Cafe, around to corner from Andina and across the street from Dishoom), aside from great views of the city, this Mediterranean-meets-Southern California space boasts a French menu, and plenty of pitcher cocktails and gin and tonic cups.
While there is outdoor seating (with wood burners) for daytime and late night drinking when the weather is good, when you book a table it will be in the Orangery, which is beautifully sunny and warm, even if it is a bit wet outside, as it was when we visited. Once you’ve sat down and ordered a bottle of French white to share, you’ll be transported somewhere sunnier where you don’t have to worry about bringing an umbrella.
While you could order mains, I think you’d be missing out on their selection of sharing plates. We got a couple. However, if you’re looking for something to nibble with drinks before the main event, the smoked salmon crostini is a great shout, served with lots of lemon for squeezing over each bite.
If you’ve got more than two of you, and you want a sharer that everyone can dip in and out of, Le Grand Aperitif Mediterranean is a good shout: a simply delicious homemade fougasse is served with crudites and a selection of Mediterranean dips and spreads. We all called out the Aubergine Caviar as our favourite, and the pesto was a close second, the tapenade, anchoiade, olives and Portuguese salt code were also lovely.
Just Eddie and I shared the pitch perfect Chorizo and Octopus skewers which was just the right amount; order one between two. The chorizo was juicy, smokey and packed a punch, and the octopus had the flavour of the grill, and was perfectly, melt in the mouth tender. Seriously, don’t miss out on these.
Where oysters are available, I need to order oysters, so we got half a dozen at £14, which is by no way cheap, but not badly priced either. They were light and delicious, perfectly served with shallot vinegar, lemon and tabasco (my perfect oyster). My only qualm is that I’d have liked to know where they were from at over £2 an oyster, rather than them just be listed as ‘rock oysters’ on the menu. We were not all massive seafood fans so we did not get it, but The Boundary also do a Fruits de Mer (tiger prawns, mussels, clams, oysters cockles and crab) at £34 for 2 (£44 for 2 adding 1/2 a lobster) which I think is excellent value, especially as it is half price on all seafood after 8pm on Sunday evenings. This I need to go back for.
Having finished the wine, we decided to switch it up a little before dessert with some cocktails and Gin and Tonic cups. The cocktails were fantastic (something seasonal with passion fruit), but if you’re a G&T fan, their simple long serves are a fantastic way of keeping it simple: Eddie and I had the Portobello Cup, Portobello Gin served with pink peppercorns, rosemary and a grapefruit zest strip.
There are three desserts on the menu (along with cheese and ice cream), and they are all very traditionally French. We had all of them around the table. Sherin and I were all over our Petite Pot au Chocolat’s, little cups of chocolate infused cream, with a rich, dense, creamy chocolate pudding base. These are utterly perfect, and the perfect way to round of the meal. However, the others are also worth a shout: we did not hear a peep out of Eddie as he worked his way through his Creme Brulee (except for him surfacing to say it was excellent), and Martin, the token Frenchie at the table also seemed to enjoy his (pear) Tart du Jour.
While I have a list of new openings and (other peoples) old favourites I want to try in the city as long as my arm, I’m not actually that up to date on the best rooftop and terrace bars to check out this summer. I want somewhere relaxed and sunny (but with indoor spaces if the weather turns) where I can get good food to share and excellent drinks. Any recommendations?