The Barbican’s Balcony Bistro, Silk Street


The (Black) Rock, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I’ve got another write-up for you! Plus one more recipe in the recipe bank (currently), but let’s save that for a day or two.

My mom and I made a deal that once a fortnight we’ll go out on an Arts-related excursion, whether it’s dance, theatre, music, art or whatever. This time we went to the Barbican Centre on Silk Street for a modern dance show by the Michael Clark Company called Come, Been & Gone. It was phenomenal, a really wonderful show. You can read a little more about it on my Life Blog, here.

We got there early enough to have dinner first, so we decided to go to the Barbican’s Balcony Bistro. The Barbican has two restaurants, the Balcony Bistro and Searcy’s, and a more casual cafe, the Waterside Cafe. We were in the mood for something a little less sandwich-y but not too fancy, so the Bistro it was.

The service is generally pretty good, aside from the fact that we stood around awkwardly being ignored by waitresses and the host/maitre d’ for a good five minutes when we first came in. However, after we were finally seated they proved to be both fast and friendly.

Momma Lee had a Pimm’s and I had an “Apple Flower” – apple juice, elderflower fizz and mint. Pretty refreshing, particularly considering how hot it was that day.

The Balcony Bistro claim to have an eating experience which is unique to Central London called “The Black Rock”. You basically cook your own food on the incredibly “super heated” black rock which they bring out to your table. In truth, however, this is hardly a new concept – Japan and Korea have been doing this for years. Ever heard of Korean Barbecue? I’m not sure that this was all that “unique” to Central London, but maybe in a 10 mile radius…?

We had the Sharing Platter, which consists of Yorkshire beef rib eye steak, mediterranean vegetables & haloumi cheese, lemon & dill prawns, salad & fat chips. The platter was brought out to us with the raw steak, a portobello mushroom and two slices of aubergine (the photo at the top of the post), and the rest was brought to us on a separate plate.

The host/maitre d’ came by a little later to ask how our food was and whether it was “cooked well” and I suppose that’s the thing – it’s great if you want to be able to cook your food just the way you like it, you like your meat rare? Baby, you can have your meat so rare the cow’s practically still mooing.

The problem is that ultimately you spend a lot of time cooking and checking and turning things over to ensure even cooking, and as a result everything else you’ve already cooked gets cold, and then, on top of all that, you’re still hungry. It’s more time-consuming than is necessary, really, but it seems to be popular. And service is very fast – probably because they don’t exactly have to do anything. Ultimately I couldn’t help thinking, ‘if I wanted to cook my own dinner I would’ve stayed at home’ which isn’t particularly in the spirit of things, I know, but could you really blame me?

It has to be said, though, the prawns and the beef were very good quality, and we cooked it perfectly… but then would you really expect any less from me?

Good experience, a little bit too gimmicky and time-consuming for my tastes, however. If you want to try it out the view from the balcony is at least beautiful, and it wasn’t particularly expensive, with it coming in at about £20/head (the Sharing Platter is cheaper than two black rock dishes, which had been our original plan until the host/maitre d’ pointed out that what we wanted was basically the Sharing Platter). Only go if you’re seeing a show, however – I wouldn’t bother making the trip just for it’s “unique experience”.

Barbican Centre
Silk Street

Until next time – peace and love.

Jax x

3 Responses to “The Barbican’s Balcony Bistro, Silk Street”

  1. Monet Says:

    What a lovely idea! I so enjoy going and exploring the art scene. I'm glad that you enjoyed it. And the Apple Flower Drink looks just my style. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sara Says:

    I'm not sure I know what elderflower fizz is all about. I'm thinking I'd like it, especially with the mint. Love mint.

  3. Jackie Says:

    Monet – thanks, lovely! My mom and I plan on seeing some theatre next, we've already started synching our diaries!

    Sara – thanks for swinging by! Elderflower fizz is kind of hard to explain, it might be a British thing? It's basically Elderflower cordial with fizzy water, but it tastes sooo good. Especially with the apple juice and the mint! I love mint too =)

    Jax x

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