How inspired by some clever individual to name this lofty restaurant after one of the Seven Wonders of the world. Aiming high, for sure, but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from an establishment owned by Richard Branson. High up on the seventh floor, Babylon affords amazing views of the capital.
Sunday lunch is very much a family affair. In fact, it’s there in black and white on their website: “Children are most welcome.” There’s even a magician on hand to keep them entertained, though four-year-old Joe cowered in a corner when he appeared. Luckily, the appropriately named Zap happens to have a four-year-old son himself and was quickly able to win Joe over by letting him hold the magic wand. Joe was less impressed, however, when the smiling waiter gave him a Barbie designer activity kit – clearly he wasn’t quite so in tune with the psyche of the four-year-old boys as Zap.
The staff are super-attentive, and the Sunday offering is clearly popular, as there was a lively buzzing atmosphere. The lunch menu has a tempting array of dishes, and is great value (considering the location is fab and the food excellent) at £22 for two courses; £25 for three – though Grace went for the more spectacular à la carte starter of Crab Ravioli with Truffles and Violet Potato, which cost £16. Our other starters of Salt Cod Croquette and Goat’s Cheese with Beetroot were good too, but Joe was not impressed with his Cheddar Omelette (my fault for guessing what he’d like, and when it arrived he said he wanted the Tomato Soup!).
As patience was wearing thin, it was the perfect time for Joe to be escorted to the balcony to admire the skyline and see if he could spot the resident pink flamingos (sadly, as there was a wedding party downstairs the gardens were out of bounds that day).
Joe’s main course of Salmon Goujons and New Potatoes went down more favourably, while Grace’s succulent Haddock and Chips was perfect once she’d picked off the beer batter. Smoked Mackeral with Rocket & Parmesan, and Pork Belly with all the trimmings of Roast Potatoes and Crackling were delicious, too. Desserts of Blackcurrant Soufflé with Apple Sorbet, a dreamy Chocolate Cremois, and Jelly and Ice Cream for Joe rounded off a most satisfying lunch.
Hours: Open Mon to Sun for lunch, and Mon to Sat for dinner.
Contact: tel: 020 7368 3993; www.roofgardens.virgin.com
Address: 99 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA; nearest tube station,