Restaurant Review: Rocket Bishopsgate, near Liverpool Street in London
First things first, if this your first visit, have the Rare Beef & Chip Salad and you won’t be disappointed. Now for the rest of my experience………
Situated on the main Bishopsgate Road, just a short walk from both London Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations, it is clear to see what attracts the trendy Londoners to this lively bar and restaurant.
With a separate bar and dining area, divided by a rather unique ‘wall of wine’, where their impressive selection of wine is laid out on display, the décor is a delightful mix of ‘70s comfort and a quirky retro style, with one wall adorned entirely with green plates. Old fashioned telephones are mounted to another wall, and your standard coat hangers have been replaced with spoons and forks (instead of the generic ‘hook’ fixing) in a wooden frame. Comfy, brightly coloured chairs are on parquet flooring or large black and white tiles, depending on where you’ve been seated. With its dimmed lighting and low ceilings, Rocket – Bishopsgate creates an intimate setting with a trendy and lively city-vibe. With a large table in the center to cater for big parties, there are also sofas tucked away for those wishing for a more relaxed dining experience. The most striking feature was the large Space Invaders mosaic as you go up the stairs to another separate dining area, which in turn was overlooked by what looks like a statue of the dog from the old HMV adverts, seemingly waiting to hear his master’s voice once more.
Before we started our meal, I had a delicious Peach Bellini. The sweetness of the Crème de Peche and peach puree was enhanced by the Prosecco addition. For starters, I sampled their Pink and Purple Smoked Mackerel Salad. This consisted of fresh, pink grapefruit, purple potato pieces, with watercress and a horseradish sour cream. The presentation alone was noteworthy. The mackerel had a beautiful meaty texture to it, with a strong smoked fish-flavour. The potatoes were sweet and their natural purple colour is bright and vibrant, creating a very summery starter. Whilst the strong bitterness of the grapefruit wasn’t quite to my liking, the horseradish sour cream did its best to negate this. My dining partner had the Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash & Chick Pea Cakes. Three generously sized balls, with tzatziki, tomato, red onion and salsa, with tomato chilli jam to accompany them. The balls were densely filled, with just enough of a hint of onion and chilli to bring out all the other flavours. In a word: lovely.
For the main course, the waitress recommended their popular signature dish of Our Famous Rare Beef & Chip Salad. If you haven’t already guessed it by my opening statement, it is incredible! Your plate arrives with an impressive mound of food piled high to create a feast for both the eyes and stomach. On a bed of rocket, green beans, red onion, thinly sliced radish, crispy garlic and fried chilli, there is a substantial serving of fries and beef. There’s a mixture of thin and crispy fries, coupled with chunkier homemade chips. The beef’s rareness adds a slight chewy texture to it and the overall dish works incredibly well together. The beef is tender and served with a black bean dressing, the mild saltiness of which perfectly complements the seared, smoky flavours of the meat. The richness of the dressing and beef are contrasted by the many fresh flavours in the underlying salad. The peppery taste of the rocket and the fried chillis provide ones palate with a bigger array of senses. This culinary delight also comes with a ginger-mustard mayonnaise dip on the side.
My dining partner opted for one of their famous stone baked pizzas: Ricotta & Spiced Pecan Nut, with smoked mozzarella, tomato and cooked spinach. Having been offered a couple of bites, I can certainly agree with my dining partner that the different flavours and textures worked well together. You have the smokiness of the pecan nuts, with the salty yet tangy, almost meat-like quality of the sun-dried tomatoes. The ricotta was smooth and creamy, with underlying hints of mozzarella as a good base cheese. This contrasted well with the bitter cooked spinach served on top. The dough was soft and light; cooked to perfection. A generous drizzling of oil on top completed this pizza.
To accompany the main course, I had a glass of the Malbec, Santa Ana, Mendoza, Argentina 2015, which had a certain earthiness to it, with a mild sharpness too. My dining partner was recommended their Rioja, Vina Cerrada Crianza, Spain 2013, which was deliciously silky smooth with wooden yet rich and fruity tones.
For dessert, I opted for their Vanilla & Raspberry Mascarpone Cheesecake, with raspberry sauce. After being thoroughly impressed with my main course, I was once again pleased with my choice of dessert. A light and fluffy cheesecake with a soft biscuit base, with a delightfully strong vanilla essence. The thick, sharp raspberry sauce wonderfully complemented the smoothness of the cheesecake filling. My partner chose their Blackcurrant Sorbet, with blackcurrant sauce. Although simple, it was refreshing and light, cleansing the palate after such a sumptuous two courses.
To finish off the evening, I decided to sample a Cherry Chocolate Old Fashioned from their substantial cocktail list. Cherry infused Buffalo Trace with Mozart Dark Liqueur, old fashioned bitters, served over ice with a dried orange slice and a cinnamon stick. The cherry infused bourbon provided a sweet edge to the strong taste of the bourbon and the Dark Liqueur added a subtle smooth chocolate undertone. Perfect for slowly enjoying after a delicious meal.
Throughout the meal, the waiting staff were attentive and helpful, yet not overbearing. This enhanced the enjoyable dining experience even more. They were knowledgeable on the menu and ingredients, knowing when to offer recommendations and when to allow their guests time to enjoy their meal. The chefs had clearly put thought and effort into the options on offer, creating not only meals with a wide variety of contrasting flavours, but visually stunning creations too. A wonderfully enjoyable experience.
Address: 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AB / 020 7377 8863