Wednesday, 9 August 2017

FOOD, FUN and FLAMINGOS ..........



In mid July, my sister celebrated her 70th birthday. Amongst many other things that she did, she took the female relatives of the family out for lunch in London.




We went to Babylon Restaurant at the Roof Gardens in South Kensington. High up on the 7th floor, 100 feet above the hustle and bustle of Kensington High Street and with amazing views over London ..... it's not often that you can enter a building at street level, take the lift to the 7th floor and emerge in a leafy garden in the centre of London.



I started with Truffle Risotto ..... AMAZING !!!



Then I had a fillet of Hake with Jersey royal potatoes, wild garlic, samphire, poached leeks and a seaweed tartar hollandaise sauce ..... AMAZING !!! 




..... and finished off with Lemon Posset, poppy seed ice cream, gin and tonic jelly with juniper meringue ..... AMAZING !!!

Now, if there isn't an event going on, you can take a tour of the famous and oldest spectacular Roof Gardens so that's what we did ..... the Roof Gardens were the brainchild of  the chairman of Derry and Toms Department Store, Trevor Bowen and were constructed by Ralph Hancock between 1936 - 1938. Bowen wanted to outdo the gardens of Selfridges and Barkers department stores so he created three themed gardens including fully grown oak trees, a running stream and flamingos !!! 
The restaurant and gardens are now part of Sir Richard Branson's empire !!!




The gardens cover 1.5 acres. It has ponds, bridges, walks, trees, shrubs and sitting areas. There is an English Woodland garden with nearly 100 species of trees, a Spanish Garden with fountains and a walled Tudor garden.




Derry and Toms closed in 1971 but was taken over by my favourite shop at the time Biba. Above is Barbara Hulanicki, owner and creator of Biba, in the rooftop gardens with the flamingos !!!  I was always in Biba so, it was lovely to go back all of these years later.  After it's move from Kensington Church Street to the Derry and Toms building, Biba immediately attracted up to one million customers a week and was one of the most visited tourist attractions in London. After disagreements with the board, Big Biba closed in 1975. I used to like it best when it was in Kensington Church Street ...... it was never the same when it moved and became too big ..... anyway, I digress  .....



Here's my photograph of the Spanish Garden .....



..... and here it is in the 1930's.



2017 .....



1940's !!!





It is well worth a visit ..... lunch was very reasonable and, the guy who took us round the gardens said anyone can visit the gardens and sit with a drink as long as there isn't an event on ..... you don't even have to have lunch !!!

Afterwards, we went to see Diana's white garden at Kensington Palace ..... I was going to show the photographs but I thought that you had probably had enough for today ! I'll show you them next time .


XXXX





images 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 & 12: via me, images 2 & 14: via babylon, image 7: via garden visit, image 9: via mike, image 11: via riba, image 13: via rbkclocalstudies

Jackie

40 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You must Anna ..... it's lovely for lunch and not over pricey. XXXX

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  2. I visited when it was under the Biba banner. You're right it was never the same after Church St. Those millions of visitors to Derry and Toms were exactly that; visitors (tourists). They never bought anything. I remember when we were there we wanted to buy some imitation Arum Lillies that were all over the place. I think they were the only things NOT for sale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a shame it all went wrong when they moved ..... Barbara Hulanicki is so talented and it was the most wonderful shop. I guess it's so hard when you are successful and always have to be moving forward. The Biba label is still producing stuff but it's not the same .... it never was once she sold it. XXXX

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  3. That looks like the perfect place to celebrate your sister's birthday!

    I never went into Biba again after it moved from Church St. I could not stomach it. I used to go into Derry and Toms when I was living alone in London and have afternoon tea in the shop restaurant. I never went up to the roof garden because you had to pay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really nice Rachel and lovely to look around the gardens. We were lucky that there wasn't an event on. There are so many roof gardens in London ... I must visit some more. XXXX

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  4. Wish I would have known about this when I was there. I have a Step Daughter
    who lives in London. At this point don't think I want to fly anymore. Just yoo darn old. I am so worried about the way the world is going. Trump does nothing about Global warming. Now we have to wacko's in powerful positions. GOD help us all. Glad you shared a beautiful day with me. Happy birthday to your sister. yvonne

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  5. Just too old & two wacko's so sorry I am getting cataract's done soon. Scared to death.
    This is not something I want to do. Excuse the mistakes yvonne

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    Replies
    1. No worries Yvonne ... I'm always making mistakes !!! XXXX

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  6. How could they do that so high up? What an exotic restaurant in London and the menu sounds very exotic too. Worth shaving my legs and putting on makeup for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha !!! Definitely worth making an effort for Donna !!! There are quite a few roof gardens in London. This one was made by an American landscape gardener who also designed the garden at the Rockefeller Centre in New York. XXXX

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  7. What a glorious birthday lunch with/for your sis . . .
    Oh my . . . I would love a visit there . . . greens almost sky high . . . how lush!
    Sounds like a perfect 70th . . .

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    Replies
    1. It was Lynne .... you would love it. XXXX

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  8. Wowwww Jackie ..what a amazing place to eat....love from me ria x ❤️

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  9. I have turned deep deep green with envy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lovely experience ... we will go again. XXXX

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  10. Thank you, Jackie - that garden high up is really amazing and beautiful!
    ( By the way: From Biba I still have a jacket, beautiful slim cut, black with white "fur" - and it still fits, amazing!) Britta, XXX

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    Replies
    1. I, too, still have a Biba jacket Brittany and it still fits ... just !!! XXXX

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  12. GOSH........I would have LOVED TO HAVE GONE HERE!!!!!!
    I walked and walked LOOKING for the white GARDEN for DIANA........never did find!I look forward to your PHOTOS!!!!!!!!XX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would LOVE both the Roof Gardens and Diana's white garden. You can go to both, next time you visit Elizabeth !!! XXXX

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  13. That's incredibly beautiful Jackie, it's like eating in heaven!
    Greetings Maria x

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    Replies
    1. It was Maria ... what a lovely way of putting it ! XXXX

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  14. All of these at one place would be an amazing experience. I love to go this place. I am looking for some holiday apartments and villas in Italy and your blog is so helpful and informative. Can you suggest some more places in Italy?
    mieten ferienhaus ligurien

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a lovely place to eat .... good food, lovely views and beautiful gardens. I think there are so many beautiful Italian destinations, and so many that I haven't visited yet. XXXX

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  15. Hello Jacqueline,
    You seem to know the best places to dine and how unique is this. I will add it to my list.
    Hope you are have a great summer.
    Helen xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Helen,
      Definitely add it to your list ... it is lovely and not really expensive( especially lunch ) ... and, only a stones throw from Kensington Palace. XXXX

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  17. What a lovely celebration, the food looks so good. I'm just back from London but next time....!
    When Biba moved it just became a spectacle rather than a dress shop, most of the goods seemed rather tawdry. I bought a brown feather boa from the mega store but that was my last Biba purchase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try and go ... you will love it.
      Bobs was never the same when it became Big Biba was it ? XXXX

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  19. I must put this on my list for next visit!
    xx

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    Replies
    1. Pamela ... it is a must visit for you. XXXX

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  20. Replies
    1. Thanks John ..... I think that you would love it there too ...... you would love the garden. XXXX

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