No one ever really has much of a reason to head west in London. Shepherds Bush in particular is somewhere I’ve only ever been for the odd gig, Westfields doesn’t appeal to me and generally I’ve no other reason to even go out that way. The other big reason to head out that way is the Television Center, historically the home of the British tele, and now newly converted into flats. The building itself is much the same from the outside so you can still go and reminisce about the golden days of UK TV, or you could go and climb up to the roof and fill your face with some of London’s best Street Food. Pergola on the Roof has been running all summer and only has a week left to go, but it’s worth a visit if you’ve got the time. I was overdue a catch up with some workmates from my last job, including Dan at City & Cinema. So this was the perfect opportunity to see people, hear all about their new office move and generally talk about what’s been going on over the last few months.
On the Thursday evening I found myself sat on a tube, my head full of lurgy, on the way out to Wood Lane (Shepherd’s Bush) to meet them. We walked all the stairs up to the roof, which have been coated in wonderful nature inspired murals from top to bottom, before emerging onto the roof. The whole thing has been decked out with tables and chairs, a large area is covered with a roof, each of its beams covered with fairy lights and climbing flowers. They’re going for a Mediterranean feel and it works, especially as we’re lucky enough to be there while the sun is still up and it starts to set, giving us a golden sunset view across London. For a Thursday in September it’s surprisingly busy and it adds an atmosphere. Some of this could be due to the table(s) next to us being reserved for eighty (80!) suits from Westfield, but it meant there was a buzz around the place you wouldn’t always get this late on in the season.
I love the many street food ‘festivals’ (if you can call a permanent location a festival) around London, but my main problem is the lack of seating. Often, unless you turn up for when they open you’ll find yourself sharing a small ledge with 6 people all trying to eat/drink/play Pokemon Go with just their measly two hands. The big advantage of Pergola on the Roof is that it’s booking only. This means that you are guaranteed a seat and table, and it’s yours for the whole night. So you can buy everything on the menu and a bottle of wine and not have to do some form of insane balancing act to actually eat and drink it all.
Burger stalwarts (and one of my top 3 burgers in London) Patty & Bun are one of 4 vendors available, serving up their classic burgers and wings. I opted for an Ari Gold and some wings to share for the table. The Ari Gold is on the sweeter side, with their homemade ketchup and pickled onions making it sharp but sweet, it’s not my favourite on their menu (that’s the Smokey Robinson) but still up there with the best in London. Their wings, which they were well known for when they first started up, may not be as unique to London as they were, with so many other places getting in on the act, but are still superb; coated in a crispy batter and sticky spicy sauce that’ll leave you needed a couple of wet wipes to clean up.
The other vendors are Rum Kitchen, Salt Yard and Rabbit. I’ve eaten at Rum Kitchen a number of times, and while I like them I wanted to use this opportunity to try both of the others, as they’ve been on my list (it’s an actual spreadsheet…) for a while. Rabbit preach sustainability and nose-to-tail cooking. From their menu we tried the Beef Cigars (pulled beef stuffed inside pastry cylinders) and we’d have had more from them if Salt Yard hadn’t turned our heads with their Fried Courgette Flowers, Fried Peppers and Grilled Aubergine Salad. The Courgette flowers come stuffed with a particularly good goats cheese and drizzled with honey, probably the highlight of the night. The peppers are an ideal sharer for a table at something like this.
As the night wore on, my lurgy grew worse, so we had to bail around 9pm to make the hour long journey home. Shepherds bush is a long way from Walthamstow, but a lot easier for many people. Pergola on the Roof is only on for one more week, but if you get the chance, book yourself a table. I get the impression that they could winter proof it, and think they should, but as far as I know that isn’t currently on the cards.
Television Center provided us with a free meal in return for visiting Pergola on the Roof, all opinions are my own.