A Room with a view
by Lara Cory - Thursday April 26, 2012 4:30 pm
If you're after somewhere special or have some out of town visitors to impress, then head up to the Sky Lounge at the Hilton's Double Tree Tower of London. The Sky Lounge might be spare and simple on the inside with it's low key, sleek decor but there is a very good reason for its understated style, the incredible view.
Breathtaking panoramas of London take left, right and centre stage at this establishment. Wall to wall windows provide a fascinating view of London icons. The winged goddess of the Trinity Square monument sits before the aerial views of the Tower of London while the majesty of Tower Bridge lights up the sky in all its glory. A little stroll around the bar and you will spot the Gerkin sparkling in the sun's setting rays and you can even watch as the city's tallest building, the Shard, glows impossibly bright.
The Sky Lounge is the sort of place where a glass of wine doesn’t quite suffice. By all means, if that's your tipple, make your choice from the menu, but on the 12th floor with views like that, a cocktail or at least a glass of champagne feels more appropriate. It's the sort of place where dashing dandies and high heeled power brokers fill the dark timber floors on a Thursday and Friday night. Over the weekend however, you're more likely to find hotel patrons gazing out at the views and a calmer, more laid-back clientele.
I was there to try their new spring cocktails. The Cucumber Cooler was a refreshing concoction of gin, St Germain Liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon juice and pressed apple. Served in a high ball with slices of cucumber it was possibly my favourite. The Hanoi High was playful and fresh with hints of coriander and lemongrass. The Floral Fizz was a gently blushing glass full of gin, rose syrup, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda water topped with foamy egg white. The English Rose's basil vodka and rose champagne combination was an unusual blend, not at all sweet and unexpectedly sophisticated.
I was informed by our lovely and attentive waitress that the bar team have come up with many of the cocktails you can find on the Sky Lounge menu including the above mentioned range, the London Calling, the Jeni French, and The Modern Negroni but it was the Avant Garde Sour that we just had to try. A blend of bourbon, marmalade, honey and lemon juice this compact cocktail was intense and unforgettable. A must for any bourbon lover.
We were treated to a selection from the bar menu as we pondered the view from our corner table. Szechuan tempura squid rings with saffron aoli were delicious and the Serrano ham and marinated Manchego cheese plate was a delight to behold. But of course two plates weren't quite enough for our rumbling tummies and we were given a plate of quesadillas stuffed with shin of beef, wild mushrooms, celeriac and melting cheese.
There's something about sipping cocktails in a bar like that. With a view that would knock the socks off even the most cynical London-native, perched up high in the oldest part of the city, it felt special. Places like this are few and far between.