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ME London Hotel, 336-337 The Strand
Impossibly glamorous (and sometimes impossible to get into if you haven't booked) the exclusive rooftop bar at ME London piles on the wow factor with its minimalist monochrome decor and views over the City skyline. On warm days, the prime spots are the white leather sofas by the rooftop edge: perfect for alfresco posing. House cocktails run from the Mexican (a refreshing blend of El Jimador Tequila, cucumber, mint and agave) to South Pacific (Leblon cachaça, kiwi, elderflower and apple juice), while the Champagne list is reassuringly extensive (and expensive), with bottles of Bolly for £100 and jeroboams of Cristal 1999 weighing in at a cool £5,000. Meanwhile, aficionados can pair Cognac or whisky with a Montecristo No.4 from the cigar menu. Daytime eats include risottos, salads and burgers, with dainty tapas on offer when the lights go down.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
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ME London Hotel, 336-337 The Strand
Temple Tube Station 243m
Chancery Lane Tube Station 563m
New Theatre 192m
Royal College of Surgeons of England 250m
Mon-Sun 11am-1am (Thurs-Sat -3am Sun -10.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Radio is a hard one to review from my perspective because whatever you say about the food, drinks and service, you're partly (if not mostly), paying for the views and setting. You really won't get better views in central London and I think the decor is sublime. That said, in summary, it's a great place to go for drinks in the evening and I'd definitely now recommend it for a meal.
I visited on a Wednesday afternoon at lunch time and after reading a number of reviews was nervous about the service and food. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't fault the service – the lady who greeted us was very welcoming and our waitress was excellent – she knew the menu well and was just the right level of attentive. The menu is entirely made up on tapas style dishes, both hot and cold. We ordered 3 dishes each plus bread and a non alcoholic drink each and the bill came to £60 which I thought was perfectly reasonable when you take into account the beautiful decor and views. The food was good – some tapas favourites such as chorizo in red wine and some more adventurous dishes such as pork and paprika toast. I wasn't blown away but it was perfectly tasty. I'd definitely recommend for lunch with a bit of a wow factor.
I have been on a Friday and Saturday evening just for drinks and highly recommend it for excellent cocktails and gorgeous night time views with a laid back, buzzy atmosphere. I'm aware of the difficulty gaining entry if you don't have contacts within Radio or the industry. However, if you reserve an area you will have no problems.
Food + drink: 1
I always wonder when reading negative reviews where the hurt egos end and real facts start.
With regards to the Radio Rooftop Bar I sadly have to agree with only 50% of the comments simply because after 2 & ½ hour queue (FACT) we were denied the view of this ‘sleek, glammed-up, ‘Sex and the City’ destination’.
I have now learnt that ‘bar at full capacity’ is a better word to turn the ‘unwanted’ away – how else would you explain the door staff still letting friends and ‘fabulous people’ jumping a queue of mostly tired and yet still smiling ‘commoners’?
After 1 and ½ hour wait, my friend and I were next in line to become fashionable immortals and finally join the gods sipping cocktails in this brand new Olympus of Aldwich. One more hour went by and not a sign, nor a word, or even eye contact from the tall lady at the door holding the clipboard and sharing jokes with her colleagues. She also decided that it was absolutely acceptable to turn her back to us for most of the time and leave us to wonder whether she would ever unlock the cord between us and the most pretentious entrance to a bar I have ever come across in my life. The rest of the experience you can gather from other people that have actually managed to cross that line……alas I was not one of the lucky immortals to be chosen to grace this current bastion of coolness.
It is now my mission to make sure that my –dreadful- experience of the Radio Rooftop Bar ‘entrance’ is shared with everyone I know. Places like this kill the spirit of London, a city where the very diversity of its people creates the exceptional experience that is London…Do the ‘only-fabulous ghettos’ have a place in this? Perhaps they do but I don’t think I will be wasting any more of my time to experience what they think they have to offer!
Food + drink: 2
Having had lunch at Stk we decided to spent the rest of our afternoon in Radio (incidentally shouldn’t that be Rd to continue the distrust of vowels?)
It could, and should, be lovely with the rooftop setting and superb views east and west across the London skyline. Sadly it was rather what I expected Stk to be – I’ve never seen so many volcanic orange tans, which coupled with the blonde extensions and red soles gave a curious colour transition that looked rather like a met office chart of the recent hot spell. Apparently, and I’ll have to take my friends word for this as I’ve never even seen a single second of it, some of the “stars” of Made in Chelsea were in for champagne – so clearly its big here right now and I suspect that it will get rammed after 10pm with people on a mission.
It desperately wants to be cool – but they do let themselves down. The music is a horribly safe chilled Ibiza vibe, rather like someone purchased a large Ministry of Sound box set and just put it on a loop. Fine, you can probably get away with Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Moloko etc., but really not Hot Chocolate or Cool and the Gang (both played) – hardly the sort of vibe the cool kids will want.
The staff are a mix of curiously disinterested – try getting some of them to take an order – or seem to actively resent the fact you are there, buying drinks that don’t come in cheaply, with the odd one who doesn’t seem to have been infected with cynicism yet. You’ll be looking at £10-£12 for everything – and cheekily enough they bill you with 10% service on everything, even if you go to the bar yourself. Incidentally, don’t try and sit in a seat that is ‘reserved’ even if no one turns up there for at least an hour – a grumpy woman with a 90’s Madonna headset tells you off – perhaps upset that she hasn’t been allowed to appear on TV in The Call Centre.
Despite all of that I actually had a good time – which proves that if you go with someone you like and you drink enough rounds of drinks, have a view and some sunshine just about anything is bearable.
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