THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Summer finally kicked in and my staycation started off with a religious experience. The terrace on the 7th floor of the Leonardo Royal Hotel looks directly onto St Paul’s Cathedral and the view is spectacular. We got sloshed and prayed for forgiveness at the same time!
Due to the pandemic, drinking and dining al fresco has become the trend of the mo and Sabine is a prime spot. With blazing sun and nary a cloud to be seen, it truly felt like an oasis. Spacious, ultra-comfy seating make it a great place to lounge for cocktails.
I started with What the Dickens (£14). What indeed! The Botanist gin, Cointreau, orange juice, lemon juice, raspberries and fever tree blood orange soda. Vibrant, refreshing, balanced and boozy, it certainly quenched my thirst.
My companion’s City Tropic (£14) was equally good. Eminente Rum, fig liquor, passion fruit puree, egg white, lemon juice and homemade mixed berry syrup just needed a beach and a hammock!
The food is quite good but service still has some teething problems. Everyone is friendly as can be but in general, the floor staff needs organization. We were served by everyone but never knew who was in charge. More structure would work wonders.
Chilli and lemon crab straws with brown crab ketchup (£7) was hit and miss. The crisp, tasty puff pastry was beautiful but the crab was completely drowned in ketchup.
Spring pea and goat’s cheese arancini with basil pesto (£8) were excellent. Hot and crisp, packed with flavor and a fabulous pesto. A really good bar snack.
Yakitori mushroom skewers (£9) won the first round. Juicy, shitake mushrooms, grilled in a soy based glaze with miso, pickled radish and delicious salsify crisps. So good we ordered more drinks to celebrate! The charming barman asked for my personal drink profile after which he concocted a gin, raspberry and egg white cocktail. Not a bad call!
Shiraz braised short rib (£18) was very well prepared. Classic in style, tender and succulent, it came with a simple celeriac remoulade, crispy onions and wonderful focaccia for sopping up the juices. This paired very well with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Max Reserva, Errázuriz (£11). Red fruit, tobacco and spice. Easy drinking.
Tandoori monkfish skewers (£17) came with a fresh green mango salsa, hot pickled radishes and raita. Well prepared and well-judged for summer al fresco dining. A glass of Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Corte Vignan (£12) was green, crisp and dry. Good with the spiced fish.
For dessert a strawberry meringue (£7) didn’t send me to heaven. The meringue was very hard, the berries sparse and there was no cream to balance it out. An elderflower and lemon tart (£7) was far better. The cookie crust was crisp, the curd balanced and flavorful and best of all, a dusting of mouth puckering lemon sherbet.
After this boozy night, in the presence of St Paul’s, I finally understand what high mass really means!