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John Lewis’s Rooftop Transforms into the Quintessential British Summer Garden

Don’t you just love London in Summer? Like a butterfly emerging from its Winter cocoon, London stretches its wings and revels in the unusual sensation of being outdoors. SEEN’s favourite time of the day is the evening. What better sight can there be than our spectacular skyline on a balmy Summer evening? Thus it is that SEEN was delighted to learn of Britain’s smallest rooftop pub which officially launched in May with panoramic views across London. Measuring just 6ft by 8ft The Gardener’s Arms sits above John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street shop, capturing all the charm of a favourite watering hole, whilst offering respite from the hustle and bustle of Britain’s busiest shopping street below.

John Lewis Summerhouse 2 Foley's

Refreshingly, this snug little den will only allow space for one member of staff, but anyone with a thirst won’t be disappointed as it is surrounded by its own garden and has a much larger bar and restaurant just yards away.

The space also includes bookable Summerhouses, each with a bespoke summer scent and their very own private front garden with white picket fence. Each Summerhouse hosts a different theme, including one inspired by the culture and music of the 70’s, one with a nod to travel and motoring and one a creative artist’s workshop space. The largest house ‘The Pavilion’, will accommodate up to 10 guests and, come the evening, will be available to book for larger celebrations and gatherings.

Designed by acclaimed gardener Tony Wood, previously awarded RHS National Young Garden Designer of the Year, The Gardening Society is filled with plants and herbs sourced from every corner of the British Isles, including wild garlic and blackberry bushes, to encourage guests to feel at home whilst pottering around. The unique city centre green space is expected to attract wildlife with its bird wall, water feature and herb garden.

The Gardening Society rooftop will be the place to be in London this summer, as it plays host to 100 ‘Summer Series’ events including gardening masterclasses, wellbeing workshops, yoga, fitness and HIIT training. The rooftop events are part of a wider UK programme of 1,500 events, which forms part of the national treasures campaign, heralding the largest and most interactive programme of event activity launched by John Lewis to date. From design workshops to tea parties, screen-printing to hat making as well as barbecue masterclasses and beauty events, there will be something for everyone.

The restaurant launched with East London eatery Morty & Bob’s, as they took up residency on the rooftop of Oxford Street for the first time. They served an array of their favourite dishes, using British-sourced ingredients. Soon it will be the turn of Foley’s who will offer a Middle-Eastern inspired taco experience with a menu of Foley’s tacos, ‘Bits & Bobs’ and – SEEN’s personal favourite – creamy coconut panna cotta.

John Lewis Gardening Society and Foleys(1)

John Lewis 2 Gardening Society and Foleys

Foley's at John Lewis Gardening Society

Foley’s head chef Mitz Vora puts a unique spin on the ubiquitous taco by adding a fusion twist of Middle-Eastern and Asian flavours. Herbs freshly foraged from The Gardening Society’s beds are promised.

Mitz Vora comments: ‘We will be featuring six different taco fillings on the menu, including hearty pork belly with tamarind BBQ, as well as a fresh Goan crab option. Other dishes include our famous burnt chicken ends which will be served with a spicy Korean sauce, and sweet potato fritters with grilled pineapple that burst with the exotic flavours of Mumbai.”

Awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand just months after opening, Foley’s was recognised by customers and critics alike as one of the best new London restaurants when it opened just last year. Mitz calls on his experience working in top restaurants across the world – including The Palomar in London, famed for its Middle-Eastern cuisine – to create unique and thoughtful menus.

Naturally SEEN can’t wait to get up there, John Lewis is such a British Institution. A view of the skyline and excellent food and drink; how fortunate we are to be in London now that Summer is here.

The Gardening Society
The Rooftop
300 Oxford Street