Restaurant review: Rotunda’s Secret Garden, King’s Cross, N1

Rotunda's Secret Garden is an al fresco delight

Rotunda's Secret Garden is an al fresco delight - Credit: Archant

One of the best things about the British summer time is a spot of al fresco dining. Sure, we may not have guaranteed weather, but when the sun’s shining there’s nothing quite like London’s parks and gardens.

Keen to be a big part of summer 2014, King’s Place eatery Rotunda has got in on the act with its Secret Garden, a sublimely relaxing canal-side dining area, with a scented floral archway, woven baskets filled with herbs, and an arbour with cosy seats among vegetables to watch the barges chugging past.

Of course, England being England it was actually a bit cold and drizzly on our visit. But no matter – the heaters are placed liberally and Rotunda has another enviable trick up it’s sleeve – it’s very own farm in Northumberland.

Not only does this give the chefs confidence the livestock lead happy, organically fed lives, but the meat is then brought to London, butchered on site and matured for days on end in their purpose-built hanging room.

That’s a lot of quality control – and it pays off. The thick rump steak had an earthy flavour and a succulence you’d normally associate with fillet, while the pink, tender lamb came smothered in thyme flavours with a melt-in-the-mouth consistency.

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The rest of the menu leans toward un-fussy dishes served with aplomb –the ox tongue’s rich, gamey taste was balanced by the salsa verde and watercress, while the crab lacked seasoning but was underpinned by an invigorating combination of coriander and mango.

Finally the salt caramel and banana mousse was a banoffee dream.

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If you haven’t made it to Rotunda yet, the new garden is the perfect opportunity. Make sure you try one of their infused gins for an aperitif.

Jon Dean

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