Pergola On The Roof

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FT: Informal and communal eating done well

 

These buzzy outdoor spaces have a wide offering of food choices, from tacos to sushi.

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Londoners are not spoiled for choice when it comes to open-air rooftop eating. It makes little sense to devote precious outdoor space and kitchen costs to a handful of diners for a small part of the year, when that same space could house more people looking for a simple but pricey drink with a view. It is, however, possible to eat well, should balmy evenings materialise. — Frank’s Café (frankscafe.org.uk) sits above a multi-storey car park in Peckham. Since 2008, south Londoners have enjoyed an unparalleled sunset view of the City, Campari-based cocktail in hand. The menu is casual but enticing, with flame-grilled vegetables, fish and meat the order of the day.  — Informal and communal rooftop eating is also done well at Pergola (pergolaontheroof.com), which has sites on top of Television Centre in White City and in Paddington. Both house a handful of independent restaurants, where diners choose reasonably priced bits of food, then return to tables to eat in groups. The USP is that it’s possible to make reservations, thereby allowing clairvoyants and persistent app checkers to ensure al fresco eating at altitude should the weather look good. Expect tacos, dumplings and bistro fare. Paddington is open for lunch and dinner every day; White City is dinner only, Wednesday to Friday. — For something different, aim for a seat on Sushisamba’s 39th-floor terrace (sushisamba.com). Anyone eating sushi, Brazilian Nikkei cuisine and Peruvian ceviche (while sipping bubbles in a glitzy setting without a roof overhead) is likely to feel as though they’re in New York, Hong Kong or Singapore, rather than Liverpool Street, London. Note: the bill may cause vertigo.

 
 

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— A more intimate City option can be found at The Culpeper, a gastropub with rooms near Aldgate (theculpeper.com). The rooftop garden and greenhouse are remarkably bucolic, despite being in the most urban of settings. Edible plants and herbs ensure the space is befitting of the 17th-century east London botanist who gives his name to the venture. A small open kitchen provides quality contemporary food, based on good produce and live-fire cooking. Charming. Ed Smith is the author of “On the Side: A Sourcebook of Inspiring Side Dishes”.  @rocketandsquashPhotographs: Alamy

 
paul ross