A few minutes walk south of Harvey Nichols is Motcomb Street. It’s a pedestranised small street with plenty of Alfresco dining space for restaurants and cafes. Even if you haven’t been to the fashionable Belgravian street yet, you’ve probably already seen Pantechnicon on social media. Probably what you saw was not the stunning neo-classical exterior of the grand five-storey building and its huge Doric columns. Instead it’s more likely you’ve seen the iconic drinks and snacks of Cafe Kitsune on the ground floor. Or you may have found the roof garden on a guide of the top 10 rooftop bars in London.
We decided to visit the rooftop garden one Saturday afternoon earlier this summer to see what this playful intersection of Nordic and Japanese food was all about. The first thing to note is that you take a glass lift to get to the top floor which allows you to see all the stores on the way up. If you’re wanting to get some exercise there are steps but somehow the lift seems the more popular option. The Roof Garden also has a glass ceiling and you get plenty of shade from awnings and foliage. So there’s no need to worry about the elements whether it’s hot summer sun or a spot of unexpected drizzle.
After a glance at the menu, we started with a plate of scallops and malted rye bread with miso butter. The rye bread came out first and gave us a chance to test out the reason for ordering it – the miso butter. While the rye bread itself was great with a malty nutty flavour, we couldn’t quite find the miso taste in the butter. Either the taste was meant to be subtle or perhaps it blended so well with the rye bread we missed it!
Next up were the scallops. These hand picked delights were served with colourful Isle of Wight tomatoes and ponzu sauce. Although a little pricey at £18, the dish works really well and is a perfect treat for a summery day.
We ordered the Mentaiko spaghetti and the Aubergine & Kohlrabi. I feel like we played it safe by not ordering the Norweigian cod. However the Mentaiko spaghetti was really on point. It had the creaminess with the spiciness you get with Mentaiko. In fact, I wondered why we don’t see this dish more often in restaurants and cafes in London. Meanwhile we had no complaints about the Aubergine & Kohlrabi dish. This was a big hit with its white miso bringing plenty of flavour to the silky aubergine and the Kohlrabi providing a crunchy texture profile.
Dessert & Cocktails at the Pantechnicon Roof Garden
Things really just kept getting better at Pantechnicon. After requesting a look at the dessert menu and deliberating far too long, we went for the Pistachio mouse and apple sorbet. This may well have been the highlight of the meal. It was a pure piece of art to behold and more importantly tasted incredible. I can still taste the richness of the mouse and the lovely combination of the cut fruits with the apple sorbet.
As the sunset drew near, and sunshine radiated across the table, we decided to finish with 2 Wasabi Margaritas. Again its something that you think wouldn’t work, however these are expertly crafted cocktails are very much worth trying. The wasabi gives the cocktail a spicy kick but its not overpowering and makes for a fun drink that we truly savoured as the sunlight glinted across our glasses.
Pantechnicon Roof Garden Rating
We would give Pantechnicon 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. The food is fantastic with plenty of unusual twists. The menu did have Japanese influences and the Mentaiko spaghetti alone gives me a reason to return. We liked the cocktails as well as the Kombucha that we ordered. In terms of price, it certainly is in the ££ – £££ range depending on what you order.
As for the space itself its truly captivating and for those on the outer terrace they have fantastic views of the streets below and rooftops around the Pantechnicon. We were happy with the service too – the staff took care of the whole party including our Italian greyhound who got his own basket.
The Pantechnicon Roof Garden is often listed as one of the top 10 roof gardens in London. We can certainly see why. Some may say it is pretentious but we feel its absolutely in line with its surroundings. This is also a great spot whether you are catching up with friends for drinks or going for an intimate meal with your date. If you’ve not been already you have to try at least once – if not for the dessert then for the cocktails at sunset!
It’d be great to get your opinion on Pantechnicon’s roof garden. Please feel free to comment below. Also if you’re looking for more restaurant reviews, check out our list of the top 10 Japanese restaurants in London.