Coq D’Argent, Blossom City

Walking out from the lift in Coq D’Argent the feeling of summer rushed back to me. A hazy warm evening, friends and colleagues toasting merrily with G&Ts and foliage everywhere lightly scenting the air. This rooftop restaurant in the city is currently celebrating the season of Spring with their #BlossomCity menu. Coq D’Argent have collaborated with iconic florists McQueens to create a unique terrarium installations based on the Coq D’Argent rooftop garden designs of award-winning Chelsea Flower Show designer, Arabella Lennox-Boyd.

We joined the throng of suited drinkers out on the balcony, and enjoyed a glass of champagne whilst admiring the epic skyline of London in front of us. I was amazed to see how early this venue gets busy, by 7pm the place was full, both bar and restaurant were buzzing with enthusiastic guests enjoying the blissful weather and soaking up the special Coq D’Argent atmosphere.

The Blossom City set menu, though concise, has a range of fresh Spring dishes created by head chef Damien Rigollet and inspired by the flowers and flavours of this time of year. I adored the roasted Quail with sweet pea flowers, pancetta, celeriac, apple puree and black truffle jus. I thought the complicated list of ingredients might ruin the subtle poultry, but it worked brilliantly with the perfectly cooked meat and crispy, salty pancetta. For a lighter starter, opt for the Baked Poitou goat’s cheese with heritage beetroot, honey and hazelnuts. This soft cheese is encased in breadcrumbs giving a lovely crunchy edge and presented on a bed of sweet beetroot chunks, puree and micro herbs. I found the honey slightly overpowering with the rich cheese and sweet beetroot, though I’m sure most will enjoy this typical pairing.

We had already spotted the impressive lamb shank on a nearby table, and the dish was not a disappointment. A hearty hunk of tender meat with potato puree and spring onion, it was a huge portion but the caramelised soft meat was difficult to leave! I ordered the vegetarian main course, a Provencal tarte with courgette flower and goat’s cheese tempura. Courgette flowers are hard to find in London eateries, a delicacy I love in the South of France, so when I spotted them on the menu I couldn’t resist ordering the dish. The tarte needed a little extra seasoning but looked immaculate and the flower was a lovely touch, oozing melted goat’s cheese when cut.

Desserts were an utter delight. Pretty plates adorned with edible flowers and exotic fruits. We tried the vanilla poached pineapple with crystallised violet petals and coconut sorbet which was a light and refreshing dessert that reminded me of my holiday in Thailand by the beach. The coffee pudding was a hit with my friend who polished it off speedily with a big smile on her face. An arrangement of contrasting coffee textures of biscuit, mimosa balls, crumble, fudge and sorbet were delicately placed in a glass bowl and topped with coffee mousse. But if you try only one option from the dessert menu go for the Granny Smith apple parfait. A beautiful spherical imitation apple filled with a zingy and creamy parfait.

Even when the weather isn’t fine, the Coq D’Argent restaurant will transport you away to a world of elegant dining and delicious food.

The #BlossomCity menu is available for lunch and dinner, Monday-Friday. It costs £28 for two courses or £32 for three courses. Continues until 14 June, more information here.

Silk & Grain, Bank

Silk & Grain is the City’s latest restaurant and bar specialising in barrel aged cocktails. Just minutes from Bank station, it is stylish and welcoming with a long cocktail bar and ample comfortable seating for diners to relax and indulge.

When I approached I was surprised to hear loud laughter out on the street. This restaurant is a hotspot for city bankers needing to let off steam at the end of a long day and when I visited on a Thursday evening the venue was heaving with suits and was consequently very raucous. We sat upstairs which helped with the sound levels, though the room was stiflingly hot. Needless to say, I was delighted when an exotic cocktail was placed in front of me, and I began to relax.

Cocktails are the main reason to visit Silk & Grain. They use intricate cocktail ageing processes to add new quality and taste to classic cocktails. The concoctions are left in oak barrels, metal, leather and glass containers to develop and accentuate the flavours. There are also original cocktails on offer, innovative creations with which they hope to woo customers. We tried a variety of these drinks:

The light, spritz-like City Orchard is flavoured with fruity ingredients (pear liqueur, lime and apple) and mixed with rum. It is the ideal refreshing summer drink. Panky Club is the ultimate sweet girly drink, similar to a Clover Club with gin, raspberry, lemon and egg white.

Later on in the evening we tried a Carney’s Brew, a great drink for beer and cocktail lovers as it is mixed with Bourbon, house-made ginger syrup, lemon, Innis & Gunn oak aged beer. An aromatic alternative is the Leather & Spice which was my favourite drink, a balanced short cocktail made with Scotch, leather infusion, mango, passion fruit syrup and cardamom bitters, it felt like I was on holiday.

To eat, we opted for a special sharing steak with numerous side dishes. The steaks are cooked on the Josper grill for maximum flavour though we found ours to be slightly overdone which was a shame as the meat was top quality. Skinny fries with truffled Parmesan were delicious, the fat chips had a lovely garlic hint but were heavy and dry inside. The steak sauces were nondescript, I couldn’t tell blue cheese from Bearnaise.

Desserts are indulgent, based on classic British recipes (there are pudding cocktails too but we decided to resist). Frozen white chocolate parfait with strawberry coulis and pecan parfait was the unaminous winner, a sweet creamy ice-cream cake with a satisfyingly crunchy nutty crumble.

Silk and Grain has a strong concept, and I think after resolving a few teething problems, it will become a great destination for cocktails and supper in the city.

More information and book here:

The Anthologist, Bank

The Drake and Morgan restaurants have universal appeal… funky but relaxed vibe, reasonably priced, good food and great cocktails. Located around the city, they are the ideal hangout for city workers after a long day in the office. The Anthologist was a sea of black suits when we went along on a Thursday night. The venue is bright with pretty décor; a large standing area is filled with groups enjoying a drink and perhaps sharing food, the restaurant area is more civilised allowing couples and friends to enjoy a comfortable sit down meal.

First things first, a cocktail – the Anthologist has a very special secret bar downstairs for guests in the know. The Blind Pig is a hidden gem, a cosy cool bar serving up awesome drinks, ideal for a pre-dinner aperitif. Entry is strict and it is well worth making a booking. We sat at the bar, brilliantly positioned to chat to the bartender about his London cocktail recommendations. We tried the Mary Pickford (El Dorado 3 Rum, pineapple, grenadine and maraschino) and the Corpse Reviver #2 (Tanqueray London dry gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon and a drop of Absinthe). Priced at 8 or 9 pounds, these prohibition classics are affordable and of the highest quality. Both drinks were expertly mixed in front of us and presented beautifully in misted cold glasses. The Mary Pickford is a light sweet concoction, refreshing and very easy to drink. The Corpse Reviver is a stronger cocktail, a lovely combination of flavours with a kick from the Absinthe.

I could have stayed in the Blind Pig all night, but the wafts of culinary delights beckoned us to go upstairs and try the food. The Anthologist, like the other D&M eateries, offers a varied choice of main meals, tapas style snacks, salads and sharing boards. I would usually opt for a three course selection, here we decided to order a range of smaller and larger plates to share casually as one big feasting course. The food arrived promptly: numerous plates, bowls and boards of tantalising grub, it was tricky to fit it all on the table and I didn’t know where to start.

For the main event we chose the Borough Market Flatbread with Brindisa Chorizo, piquillo peppers, rocket and sunblush tomatoes. This was a huge pizza like doughy base loaded with rich chorizo and vibrant peppers and tomatoes, absolutely delicious and ideal for picking at while we gossiped. My friend adored the crispy Tempura squid with ginger and citrus mayo and I loved the indulgent and tasty Rosemary and parmesan chips and the ultra fresh and crunchy rocket salad which provided some peppery green.

Craving another cocktail, I chose a wonderfully floral marigold martini, an original, sweet drink made with Bols Genever shaken with earl grey tea syrup, fresh lemon, edible gold and adorned with wildflowers. It looked like a gorgeous spring garden. I was less impressed with the skinny pornstar cocktail, a vodka based drink which was just far too sweet and needed diluting with ice.

Requiring only a mouthful of something sweet, we had the trio of pudding shots between us. Chocolate brownie, crème brulee & knickerbocker glory were each served in dinky little cocktail glasses… the crème brulee was the clear winner of the three, extra creamy and full of flavour.

From the deserted and silent street outside, I didn’t expect this venue to be so fun, colourful and entertaining once in the front door. After experiencing the friendly service and atmosphere at Anthologist I can see why this restaurant has become a regular for so many local city workers.

More information here: