The Roof Gardens & Babylon, London

Eight months after having Austyn came our 8th wedding anniversary. We’ve had our ups and downs, and recently there have been far more downs, so to celebrate we thought we would have a weekend in London so we can eat a meal while it’s hot. To smell of something other than poop and to talk about things that don’t involve a discussion about Lego and how many bricks you’d need to reach the moon.

So to start, we booked ourselves a fabulous table in a restaurant that has been recommended to us by a good friend who has said it will blow our minds. (Thanks, Miller – we would have never found this place without you). As we approached the building, I’ll admit, I was a tad put off; it didn’t look like we were walking into anything that would “blow our minds.”

We were greeted in the lobby by a charming security guard who directed us to the restaurant.
On exiting the lift, wow, this place is incredible, and if you have never been, you simply must go. We loved it so much that I went back the following week with my Mum for an impromptu luncheon birthday treat.

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Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.46.54Before sitting at our table and ordering, Beard thought we could go for a wander around The Roof Gardens with our glasses of fizz, and here, 100 feet above London in 1.5 acres of outdoor space, we were surrounded by meandering rivers flowing into mini lakes and flamingo’s roaming freely in perfectly preened gardens.
The gardens are divided into three distinct areas that tell a different story as you meander through., It’s so dreamy; I had to keep trying to take it all in without saying, “oh my goodness, look at that” every 5 seconds.

These gardens, so our waiter told us, are based on the original drawings and design of the gardens from 1938. Replicating the warmth of the Mediterranean with bright floral tones and palm trees edging the greens. It screams “sit down, grab a book and a bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and just chill with me for a while”… and oh my goodness, look at that, I so could.

While this is more of a courtyard than a garden, the Tudor-Esq arches that line the walkway are filled with flowers that are typically related to that era. They were initially designed by Barbara Hulanicki when she owned the gardens and restaurant back in the ’70s. Barbs, as she’s known to the Fashion crew, is the diva responsible for the iconic fashion label Biba which dominated the ’60’s and ’70’s. The brand with earthy palettes in art nouveau styles, in case you didn’t know. It really does look exquisite… and oh my goodness, look at that, it takes me back to my fashion design days.

Here is home to the flamingos, the exotic duck quacks and the many tweeting birds that nestle in the Mulberry tree’s – yes – actual tree’s on the roof of a building! This part of the garden is quiet and mesmerising, with snowdrops and bluebells nestled beneath the trees. Utterly enchanting. Simply breathtaking… and oh my goodness, look at that, I could spend all night here.

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I feel fortunate to have experienced The Roof Gardens both in the evening with Beard and during the day with my Mum – it feels as if you’ve entered a whole new world each time. It’s almost as if it changes before your very eyes and takes on an entirely new story between light and dark. As if you’ve been magically transported from the bustling streets of London into a real-life wonderland.

After we completed our Christopher Columbus tour around the gardens, we decide to tackle the menu of Babylon. Our poor waiter had five failed attempts at taking our order as I kept changing my mind and requesting another two minutes. Food envy consumed me, and I leered over other people’s tables, exclaiming “oh my goodness look at that…!!!”

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.45.47Beard and I are really into our food and love eating out.
We love something different, but we especially like wining and dining, and here, make no mistake, you wine and dine and you are entertained with fantastic musical accompaniment.

Our trio of musicians was fab – they were so fab we had a little nightcap with them to find out additional venues they were playing later in the year. Sadly someone had a few too many glasses of fizz and lost the card they gave us. I’m sure our paths will cross again soon.

Our waiter was fabulous. He had etiquette and style you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber, but still maintained down-to-earth qualities that just made you want to dig deep in your pocket and give the gent a hefty tip (and also see if he wanted to be your new best friend). He really settled us in, knew the menu upside down and inside out, recommending things suitable for my “I don’t like weird textures palette” and even offering alternatives after liaising with the impeccable head chef who came out to wish us a happy anniversary.

The staff bend over backwards to welcome you – nothing was too much trouble, and the food is to die for. I just cannot wait to go back; it’s been far too long, Kensington… get me on that rooftop now.