Babylon Roof Gardens Kensington restaurant review Heart and Pepper

The entrance to the Babylon restaurant at Richard Branson’s owned Roof Gardens may appear to be more suited to an office, rather than a fancy hang-out venue – but once you’re past the friendly woman in reception and shooting up the lift (pictured right) to the seventh floor, the vibe totally changes.

Now, I’m going to be honest I’ve eaten at Babylon before and wasn’t impressed in the slightest. The food was unimaginative and too pricey for what it was.

But that was almost three years ago, I was willing to give it another shot.

Roof Gardens is topical at the moment – just this week, Branson announced he was selling up. so it remains to be seen how long this will be a bar and restaurant available for all to use.

You pass the cocktail bar to the right as you make your way down to the restaurant area. Light green seating and fancy décor, along with a nice view of London make for a relaxing setting.

The restaurant was busier than I have seen it before, and the lunch menu at a very reasonable £20 for two courses, or £23 for three could be the reason why.

The waitress was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable. All questions were answered with ease and she made recommendations. Good start. We were also given a plate of warm bread with delicious butter and light, fragrant oil.

I plumped for the two course deal for £20. For starter I had celeriac and horseradish soup, with celeriac crisps and chopped chives.

What appeared was a perfectly sized bowl of frothy soup, light on the palate, with some golden crisps – they weren’t crisps, more like slithers of parsnip, but still it was extremely creamy and tasty – an ideal starter.

For main, I went for the lamb belly. This is slow roasted with braised red cabbage, herb crumb and Parmentier potatoes. We also shared some buttered leeks on the side.

I am not familiar with lamb belly. I eat pork belly fairly frequently, so this was a gamble – but a gamble that paid off.

The belly was flaking and delicate, but I am little miffed still as to what the herb crumb was. It was a vivid green colour, but wasn’t crispy – it was just a sprinkling of crumbs, but tasty all the same.

The potatoes were small cubes of nothingness, but the red cabbage was gorgeously sweet, while the buttered leeks were also a fantastic addition. All-in-all, main was very good.

Not usually a dessert fan, I decided to go for a sweet treat – it was a Friday afternoon after all.

I went for something outside of the set menu. The exotic named caramel bavarois, with pistachio ice cream, pomegranate and orange and sesame seed tuille for £8.

It was fiendishly good. The caramel was a moorish blob of goodness while the perfect globe of cool green ice cream neatly placed on top complemented it perfectly.

I had two cocktails. Firstly the raspberry mojito – a mix of mint, lime, sugar and raspberry puree and Pampero white rum. Simply put, it was nice and an ice-cold glass of blood red deliciousness.

Secondly the Castro’s Cola. This was a warm Cuba Libre – Havana seven-year rum, lime and hot coca-cola with a few drops of abbot’s bitters. That’s right, I went for a warm cocktail – and if I’m being honest, I wanted to love it, but it tasted a bit like a cola ice-pop that had been in the microwave.

Date verdict: After years of avoidance, I have changed my tune about Babylon. I would take Danielle and the lunch menu is especially good value – it also has the wow factor for a date and because it is well known, feels fancier than what it is in reality. Worth a visit for the lunch menu – I’m not sure the prices justify it for the evening and weekend food.

H&P Rating:

Service: 20/20

Date rate: 16/20

Value for money: 10/20

OVERALL RATING: 15/20

Date visited: Friday 1st February 2013. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington


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