Just as Babylon’s hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Kensington’s rooftop gardens are among London’s most glorious follies. One hundred feet above the high street lurks 1.5 acres of themed parkland, complete with four flamingos and an air fleet of resident ducks, one of whom lands in a stream in full view of our window table. In such a setting, Richard Branson’s bright and breezy brasserie doesn’t have to go out of its way to pull in the crowds. And nor does it. The greeting was chilly; service was perfunctory and remote; and the food, while perfectly competent, did not deliver the quality or quantity that the steepish prices might suggest. A pressed mosaic of Devon Rose chicken, liver and aubergine terrine was gorgeous to look at, but served fridge-cold with a vapid garlic and parsley dressing, while a nicely simple mixed seafood grill was let down by mushy langoustine. A starter of barbecue asparagus had the flavour of the grill, but just four spears seemed mean, leaving it to a roast fillet of cod with gruyère and parsley crust and flaky ham hock – and the gardens - to save the night.
Your taste buds will be thrilled by the menus. The award-winning food at Babylon is best described as contemporary British, and the menus change regularly to ensure only the freshest seasonal ingredients are used. If it's just a drink you're after you can also kick back on the heated Babylon Terrace and enjoy a cocktail or two.
The restaurant can accommodate everything from an intimate dinner to lunch with friends. The private dining room is ideal for parties or meetings of up to 12 guests, with its own terrace overlooking the resident flamingos.
7th floor, The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.30pm daily. Dinner served 6.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat.|
|Transport:||Tube: High Street Kensington tube|
|Price:||Main courses £18-£33. Set lunch (Mon-Fri) £24 2 courses, £28 3 courses; (Sat) £25 2 courses, £29 3 courses; (Sun) £27 2 courses, £30 3 courses.|
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Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
Great food, staff and views. A must for a first date or a business lunch. Could have spent the whole day here...!
I booked a meal here for my boyfriend's birthday. We specifically booked here because I wanted to take him to the roof gardens for a drink after/during our meal and the website specifically states that dinners can go up to the garden if it isn't booked. I booked a month in advance and checked three times that the gardens would be open to visitors. I was assured each time that they were. When we arrived, we were told that the gardens were closed. Then the waiter told us he would check. After a period of time in which he did his best to avoid me, i went to the front desk staff to enquire. They told me that the gardens are not actually associated with Babylon and that there was no way I could have been told I could visit the gardens as they would have had the booking schedule more than a month in advance and would have known I couldn't visit when i made my booking. Essentially they were saying that they are using their affiliation with the gardens to try and con people in to visiting the restaurant. The fact is that they need to exploit their affiliation because the restaurant itself has the decor and feel of a restaurant at the holiday Inn. i.e. it's nothing special and not worth the prices they are charging. And, whilst I like efficient service, there is also something disconcerting about ordering and having your main meal arrive about 6 minutes later- definitely gives you the feeling they are in a hurry to get you out even though the restaurant is half empty. I was furious about being duped in to going here under the premise that we could see the gardens, and I couldn't possibly recommend this place. To their credit, the staff noticed that I had hardly eaten my main meal (which I couldn't stomach as it was the fishiest fish I've ever smelt and must have been on the turn) and they did take that item off the bill. To be honest though, this restaurant is scamming people. You'd be better off finding your local holiday inn and going there for dinner.
We came to Babylon after seeing a deal on lastminute.com. The staff were pleasant and welcoming on arrival. The waiter took rather a long time to take our drink order and also to take the order for our food. Once the food arrived I thought the portions were overly small and tasted rather average. The deserts although were excellent. I don't know how much this restaurant would normally cost as we had a deal menu which didn't show normal prices but I would not return again having to pay full price. The views are nice but not worth paying over the odds on food and drink for. The waiting staff could of cracked a smile once in a while also. They were not rude or unhelpful at all but reminded me of robots which affected the atmosphere of the restaurant slightly. I'd say go to the Oxo tower brasserie instead, better food, views and staff!