Sky high dining: Tempus finds out why Londoners are flocking to Aviary

The Montcalm Hotel’s buzzing rooftop restaurant has lofty ambitions, but does it hit culinary heights?

* The Montcalm Hotel’s buzzing rooftop restaurant Aviary has lofty ambitions, but does it hit culinary heights?

The night began badly, if I’m honest. The presence of a mobile café outside the front door of the prestigious Montcalm Hotel was the first disconcerting moment. Fair enough, London’s cabbies need to get their sustenance from somewhere but I’d argue it strikes an off-key note for those heading for a five-star dinner.

Once upstairs in Aviary though (the restaurant is on the hotel’s 10th floor), the sprawling space is instantly welcoming. From a smart central bar to an outdoor heated terrace – complete with breathtaking city views – and opulent avian touches dotted around, such as exotic feathers and gilded cages, this is a visually impressive place. The outdoor terrace is packed unfortunately, and remains that way all night, but those smart enough to reserve an outside space will find it the perfect spot for some post-work quaffing.

There’s a bit of faffing around before we can order. My dining partner wants a particular aspect of one dish removed, but the waiter is reluctant to ask the chef to do so as he feels it would spoil the taste. Eventually, after some deliberation, the chef allows it. Phew. That could have been a short review.

* The Aviary’s Beetroot, goat’s cheese, blackberries, walnuts, and truffle

Drinks are good. Try the High Heel Society – Sipsmith gin, Joseph Perrier Champagne, cucumber and honey. It’s refreshing and long, and proved the perfect foil for the raw platter starter which we kicked off with. Comprising raw cuts of bass, trout, tuna, mackerel, scallop and a rock oyster, it was quiveringly fresh and a quick glance around the restaurant proved that it was also one of the place’s most popular dishes. In fact, I look on in awe as a tiny lady at a neighbouring table managed to devour the entire platter by herself. Frankly, only good manners stopped me doing something similar myself.

It’s the meat that’s the star here, though. Everything is ethically and responsibly sourced and cooked over burning charcoals in Aviary’s very own Bertha coal oven. Our smoky, charcoal infusions comprised a coal-roasted sirloin on the bone (fabulous) and a delicate lemon sole. Both had been treated with the respect they deserved and, adding in some thrice-cooked chips, all of our previous minor quibbles were brushed aside in a chorus of lip- smacking ‘mmms’.

The whole place stayed busy and buzzing all night, so booking is essential. Pre-book that outside terrace space too, for some cocktails before dinner, because the alfresco element is an essential part of the Aviary experience.

* Butcher’s cut of steak at The Aviary
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop