Rooftop restaurants and terrace bars are popping up at an alarmingly fast rate these days; even with the chilly weather, there is something particularly alluring about staring into the magnificent London skyline. The latest addition is Aviary which is on the 10th floor of Montcalm Royal London House in Finsbury Square. The view is at an ideal height where you are tall enough to have a decent vantage point but not too high up where you lose the details. It is almost du jour at such skyline terrace venues now to have toilets with immaculate views.
The interior isn’t anything less spectacular with a refined, gilded bird-cage feel. Look out for the curiously stuffed birds throughout the venue such as the peacock by the entrance.
Wow, what can I say about the food. In a conflict of interest, if I report that their raw platter is one of the freshest, best value seafood dishes I’ve had in London; for sure, the price will rocket up on my next visit. At £14, it contains rock oyster, clam, trout, tuna, scallop, mackerel. I know venues that just charge £14 for their scallops. Beetroot, goat’s cheese, blackberries, walnuts, truffle was arranged like a picturesque back garden. There were vibrant shades of healthiness from the various types of heritage beetroots.
For main courses, I ordered the Brixham brill which must be one of the tastiest fishes around with a sturdy firm texture and a sweet taste to the meat. It is a great type of fish for pan-frying. It comes with some black cabbage and parsnips as a garnish and oats and hazelnuts to add some texture.
The vegetarian option we chose came in the form of a very well constructed potato terrine. It helpfully came with a runny duck egg which was ideal for soaking into the potatoes. It had a pleasing combination of earthy cauliflower, leeks and trompettes, although I would say ordering some extra sides is a must, given the vegetarian dishes were small in portion size.
There were many classic looking dessert options, but our eyes were immediately drawn to the retro-delight that is the arctic roll. The version here contains ‘After Eight’, which is perfect for those who have a craving for minty-tasting desserts.
They have an extensive wine list and some very refreshing sounding cocktails which makes this the ideal venue to meet up with friends and work colleagues for post-work drinks and fine-dining experiences.