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On Top of the World: Foley’s at John Lewis

All SEEN can say is, if you want to escape the hot dusty streets of London for a bit (particularly in the evenings), then the roof garden of John Lewis is your best bet. Accessed through ‘The Place to Eat’ on the fifth floor, the roof garden immediately downscales any urban stress as you step into the quintessential English garden where little arbors and comfy blankets abound. You can even book a summer house. Tall hedges diminish the effect of distant cranes and artificial turf enables you to lounge and sip garden inspired cocktails.

SEEN was there to try the latest pop up, Foley’s, here giving us a menu of tacos, ‘bits n’ bobs and ice cream desserts: quite rightly keeping it simple and easy to share. My guest and I kicked off with a Campari-based cocktail ‘Bitter Pink’, which had the required bitter taste – frankly SEEN can’t be doing with overly sweet cocktails, we do like to feel we’re drinking something grown-up.

Our lovely waiter brought us our dishes as they were made: Korean burnt ends of chicken, spring onions and sesame seeds, which were indeed charred to a tee, but their hearty texture was more than matched by the fiery spices that enveloped it; Spiced sweet potato fritters with grilled pineapple, cured red onions, and saffron coconut curry melted in the mouth. Our tacos were also suitably fiery and hearty – we were glad that Foley’s had chosen to be adventurous: I had Slow-cooked octopus, black sesame mayo, spicy pork mince, bok choy and housemade sriracha and Tempura aubergine, burnt jalapeno, asparagus, kohlrabi, feta and poppy seed. My guest had Goan crab with crab salad, crab bisque, crispy shallots and dill and Pork Belly with tamarind BBQ, swede vermicelli, apple, buttermilk and tiny, tiny cashews (which SEEN’s guest maintained tasted like spicy rice crispies). We ate everything, always a good sign. Foley’s unusual combination of flavours was very bold but not off-puttingly so.

We washed it all down with a splendidly smooth red wine and shared Panna cotta with coconut, lemongrass, lychees, chilli and chocolate crumble, lemon sorbet and caramel ice cream for our dessert. If that sounds rich, it was, but fortunately the sensible portion sizes meant that our palates weren’t ruined by eating too much. There will be other pop ups during the rooftop garden’s run. Go for the elevation, stay for the food.

www.johnlewis.com

John Lewis
300 Oxford Street
London
W1C 1DX