The first thing you notice when entering the rooftop restaurant of the National Portrait Gallery is the light. Russet pink, its dusky, mid-summer hue practically drips down the sides of the Houses of Parliament, bathing the building in an ethereal quality that contrasts the black charcoal smudges of the ensuing night.
Once you’ve adjusted to this exceptional beauty (at least on a clear day) you’ll soon realize you’re rubbing shoulders with some of London’s finest architectural triumphs. Amongst others, your new neighbors will include Sir Nelson (of ‘the Column’), Big Ben, the London Eye and London’s endless rooftops that make the dining experience a little chim-chimineey-cheroo at 92-feet up. It’s Mary Poppins gone gastro.
For a view this spectacular (easily in London’s top ten jaw-gaping eateries) you might cynically assume the food fails to reach the same heights. You would be wrong; the venue’s quality modern British cuisine is seasonal, simply executed and is served up with plenty of smiling waiter service too. Beautifully seared wild salmon and purple sprouting broccoli are examples of their appealing formula, as is a generous serving of rotund asparagus spears drizzled with a naughty hollandaise. Meanwhile, spring lamb cutlets cause conversation to stop in a way that only their pink, succulent selves could.
In essence, it’s all very English, very lovely and captures everything that’s favorable about London—especially its architecture.